Tony had given up, then he discovered Jesus hadn’t given up on him.
It was Easter Saturday 2002, and I had decided that was the day I would commit suicide.
At that time I was addicted to all sorts of drugs. I couldn’t go a day without them, and I became suicidal because I couldn’t live without them any longer. My kidneys were failing, and I would try to stop, but just couldn’t do life without drugs to ease the pain.
So, I was watching TV by myself with a beer in one hand and a cigarette in the other, thinking, “Today is the day I’m going to finish this” when I flicked channels to a man sharing his testimony.
He was a drug addict and was telling his story about how he was once without hope and how he invited Jesus into his life. He was basically telling the story of my life! I flicked the channel again and the movie King of Kings was on. It was the part of the movie where Jesus was carrying the cross to Golgotha.
The only way I can explain it is that, when I saw him carrying that cross, I suddenly knew somehow that this man was the answer to every single problem in my life.
After the TV testimony there’d been a number to call, so I did. In response, a couple of days later a pastor came to my house and he explained to me how I ended up in the pit I was in—and why my heart was now full of joy. From that time, the Bible became real to me. I thought, “This stuff has to be true because I experienced it before I started reading it.”
Ever since then I have a very strong desire to share this with as many people as possible, because I know that God saved a wretch like me. I wasn’t a hopeless case after all. God pulled me out and put me on a rock called Jesus Christ.
I had been a man without hope. I was bankrupt and without many employment prospects and now I’m a railway manager. I was also bankrupt in relationships and socially, but now I have beautiful friendships and family.
God turned everything around. He’s taken me overseas on mission trips. I want to share the love and truth of God because it changed my life and you don’t have to look far to see a lot of other lives that need transforming.
I am now a leader in the Miller Salvation Army church. I play guitar in the worship band and I preach. Our pastors are such humble leaders and I just love that The Salvation Army is all about getting outside that building and going out into the world as Jesus did.
Recently a few of us from our church went to visit a friend in hospital and there was a fella sitting there looking very down. We asked him how he was and he shared that he had terminal cancer. We shared our testimonies and he gave his life to Christ.
Two of us went back to visit him that night and his countenance, his demeanour, had completely changed. Even his swelling had gone down! He had a beaming smile, he was so excited.
He passed away two days later but the good news is that where he’d had no hope, he had become filled with God’s spirit, filled with joy, and when he went, he went to meet God his maker. If we had thought, “Oh well, we’re a bit busy today” or “Don’t bother this guy”, who knows where he’d be spending eternity?
I really want to encourage people that if God puts it on your heart to share with somebody, please don’t ever hold back. I know without a doubt and firsthand that Jesus is still alive and transforms lives today.
As told to Naomi Singlehurst