When he was sick, Warwick reached out to God

Saturday 8 September

As the national sales manager for Sperling Enterprises which specialises in making items such as car seat covers, Warwick Godfrey has noticed a difference in how he does business nowadays. “I’ve never been one to detest going to work,” he says, “I’ve always felt that it’s a hobby basically. I’ve always been very interested in what I do. It hasn’t been a chore to me. But of course in business sometimes you’re making decisions not geared for the best result for the other party while now I always try and have my Christian outlook as a major thought in doing any business negotiations.”

Godfrey first made a commitment to Christ as a teenager at an Australian 1968 Billy Graham Crusade. But it wasn’t until recently when he had a health scare that he realised what difference a genuine relationship with God would make to his life. In his own words he had always been a “sideline Christian” who said, “I’ll get around to it at a later stage when I have more time”.

Godfrey had experienced months of back pain, and one day collapsed in excruciating pain. He was taken to hospital and released. But when the pain returned twice afterwards, doctors began to get nervous saying, “There’s a fractured vertebrae and we need to operate ASAP because it’s putting pressure on your spinal cord and every hour that’s delayed will affect if you’re able to walk again”.

After the operation Godfrey was in hospital for 20 days learning to walk again. More complications ensued and he spent several months in a body brace. “Little things like being able to shower yourself, dress yourself – little things that we take for granted everyday – that’s what you appreciate more and more.” In June this year, Godfrey also found out he had a blood cancer which was treated with chemotherapy and stem cell research.

During all his time in hospital, Godfrey’s wife – a committed Christian – brought him books. He began to read about God’s plans for his life. Though in the past he had never had the time for thinking about eternity, as Godfrey stared down the barrel of death and loss of body function, he thought about his creator.

When he came through all the treatment unscathed – if with a little less hair – he committed his life to God. It was a decision that made his wife “very, very, very happy”. “You hear people saying you feel the Holy Spirit passing through your body, but it’s hard to describe. It’s just a sense of happiness and serenity. I’d probably use the word serenity.” While Godfrey had never bargained with God about sparing his life, he felt once he was back in full health he needed to “commit my life to the Lord”.

“I’m sure there are people who are very close to the end of their lives who reach out and make contact with the Lord at the last moment without giving a real lot of thought.” But Godfrey feels he is able to approach life with a greater peace than ever. He is joyful to know he has the ultimate “insurance policy”. He says of those who become Christians on their death beds, “If they did reach out at a very early period of their life, they’d enjoy and appreciate their life, and the benefits of Christ, as well as association with other Christians.”