'The kind of black anger I’d been feeling just went away and it never returned'
Norm’s story | When Jesus speaks to you
“In 1988, I’d gone through some years of having a real issue with anger. Any small thing could set me off. I was that touchy. It culminated in 1988, when I was 39. A lot of negative things happened and put a strain on our marriage.”
“My grandmother died and my father died. Both our dogs died. We had to sell our house and we were housesitting. It all intensified my anger. One night I was so angry I couldn’t sleep. Someone had said something to me the day before. I can’t remember what it was now, but it set me off. I was lying in bed and I was shaking, I was so angry.
“Suddenly, out of the blue, Jesus spoke to me. He said, ‘If you turn to me, everything will be different.’
“At first, I argued with him. I didn’t agree. But then, I said, ‘OK, I believe in you, Jesus.’
“I went to sleep and when I woke up, everything was completely different. I knew I was different. The kind of black anger that I’d been feeling for all those years just went away and it never returned. I’ve never experienced it again.
“Before that point, I’d had very little Christian influence. My parents sent me to Sunday school and church when I was younger but I stopped going when I was 13. My wife had a similar background. But I knew the voice was Jesus. I was so sure of it. At the same time as the voice, there was an amazing light in the centre of my mind. It was visibly there when the voice spoke and not there before or afterwards.
“It took my wife six months before she agreed the anger had really gone. At first she thought I could be faking it. But after six months, she realised it was for real. I was different.
“We started going to church together. It was a life-changing time. My faith in Jesus was such a precious gift. It was a living relationship! We talked with the minister and we saw a lot of answered prayer during those early years. Sometimes it was as simple as a hymn in my head that encouraged me, or praying for my wife at work at the exact time she needed it.
“After a few years, people started asking us whether we were interested in overseas mission. I was struck by John 3:16. For God so loved the world (with all its sin and muck), that he gave his one and only Son, for all those people, not just for the people nearby. I was also reading Romans 10, where Paul asks the question. How can they hear without someone preaching to them?
“One day I was at sitting at work and I got a clear indication from God that it was time to start preparing for overseas mission. I signed up to Bible College. I took to it like a duck to water and then we left for the Middle East.
“We spent five years there, involved in a whole range of ministries.
“I’ve always really liked Ephesians 2:8-10 – ‘For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.’
“When Jesus came into my life, it was such a precious gift. It was life-changing, in a wonderful way, and it made me want to serve. Even now, I’ve just come out of hospital, and I can’t do what I used to do, but I know Jesus always has a role for us to play.
“We’ll always be doing something that God has prepared for us to do!”