'It felt like someone gave me prescription glasses'
Agnes’ story | The love of Jesus, in London!
“I moved from Hobart to Sydney in my early 20’s to work in publishing. It was my first real job, as an editor in a legal publishing firm and I loved it.
I’d always wanted to work with books and ideas, so it felt like a step in the right direction. I was getting trained and developing skills. But over time I began to question. Even with my dream job, I didn’t feel like it was enough. There had to be more to life than getting up, going to work, coming home, and doing it all over again the next day.
One lunchtime I went out and bought a book on Buddhism. I already owned New Age books and self-help books. That afternoon my boss walked past and she saw me with the Buddhist text.
She said, “That’s interesting. I’ve seen lots of books on your desk, a great variety, but I don’t see a Christian book on your desk. Is there a reason for that?”
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It was a good question. If I was truly an open-minded person, why didn’t I have a Christian book in my pile? Then my boss said that her church was running a new Bible study. Did I want to come?
I went with her every week. She made it very easy. Sometimes we had dinner together before she drove me to the group.
I could suddenly see my fallen nature before God … and how incredibly he loved me.
I realised during that time that I wasn’t well taught in the Bible. We weren’t encouraged to read it for ourselves. But during the Bible study, God revealed himself to me.
Everything was brought into sharp focus – my understanding of human sin, my need to repent before God, the reason why Jesus died in the first place. It felt like someone gave me the right prescription glasses, and I could suddenly see my fallen nature before God… and how incredibly he loved me.
Being the recipient of that kind of love was life-transforming. But it was also a long process. I started going to church and I felt like I was being constantly prodded by the Holy Spirit – all my faults were revealed.
It took me a while to break free from my past thinking. My family believed that it worked that got you into heaven, so any system of works could be true. One kind of work was no different from another.
Then I read the words of Jesus, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)
Could this be true? Was Jesus the only way? I also really struggled with the concepts of predestination and the sovereignty of God. I almost walked away. But I remember praying one day, “God, I don’t understand this – why you choose some people and not others – but please help me to keep trusting you and loving you even when I don’t understand.”
And God in his goodness answered that prayer.
It was a long process. But these days I’m working for London City Mission. I gather stories from parts of London where life can be bleak, among desperate situations. Every day I see God’s goodness. I see people respond to the Gospel and the redeeming love of Jesus.
We work closely with a mother who had lost her fifteen-year-old son, Zac, in a stabbing incident. It was a heartbreaking time for her. But through that incident ‘Operation Forgiveness’ began. It’s a program we run in schools to address forgiveness. It aims to prevent hurt and loss from escalating into violent crime, especially knife crime. We’ve seen some incredible testimonies coming out of it!
I know now that God loves us in a way we don’t deserve. Every day, I come back to the basics – the love of God. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
I would love for people to see how incredible Jesus is! I would love them to come to know him. My journey began in Sydney in a legal publishing firm and it ended up here in London, writing stories from the far corners of this city and seeing God at work. It’s amazing!”
Agnes’ story is part of Eternity’s Faith Stories series, compiled by Naomi Reed. Click here for more Faith Stories.