My name is Aaron and I came to faith when I was 25 years old. I grew up in a household with indifference for Christianity and science was the religion. I was taught from a young age that I was the god of my own life, that I could achieve anything if I put my mind to it. The only Christian I knew didn’t believe in the resurrection! He was my school chaplain.
In my final year of university everything changed. I broke my leg and some knee ligaments too and wasn’t able to graduate. That summer my sister died on her A-level results day driving home to get dressed up to celebrate and my step-mum attempted to take her life the same evening. I was too drunk to drive home when I got the news and had to wait for the 5am train the next morning. The bubble had burst.
A lot of the days that followed are a blur but I remember being angry at a God I didn’t believe in, at the reality of death, that I couldn’t control everything about my life and this cruel world. This took me even further from the truth for a while, I tried to take comfort in empty atheism and even read some of the Richard Dawkins books scattered around my family home.
Over the coming years I tried everything I could to fill this void that had always been there but that I now noticed. I recovered from my knee injury and threw myself into sport. I found a lucrative career gambling on sports events. I medicated with drink. I tried relationships and even glanced at Buddhism which my parents now follow. None of them brought any satisfaction
During this time I met my wife Louise & her family, and they were like no-one I’d ever met. They have been through so much and by all rights should be miserable, a living contradiction. Yet they were the most loving people I’d ever met and I now recognise the Spirit of God was overflowing out of them and impacting me. I began to ask questions, I began to see miracles. I believed a long time before I repented, even after he healed a trapped nerve in my back! My pride couldn’t reconcile what I saw through science with what I saw when people prayed in Jesus name, my world view was crumbling before my eyes and for a while I even just struggled to sleep. But God is gracious, patient & kind. He peeled back the layers of lies that society and upbringing had taught, and he welcomed me into his family.
I started to read a Bible Louise gave me and even joined the welcome team at her church because I knew in my heart I wanted to serve him but I didn’t know how however amongst all of this I carried on drinking. Months later through her trust in God Louise broke up with me, because I wasn’t living for Jesus. I had taken what he did on the cross but changed nothing about my selfish ways. During this time God led me to the book of James, “You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder”. Being a Christian means living surrendered to our King, not just accepting his incredible gift of new life while offering nothing in return. It felt like I’d been hit by a truck, it was just what I needed.
Ever since then I have tried (and still often fail) to give my all for God, but thankfully his mercy has no end. He has given me a passion for the lost and a greater passion for discipling them once they’re found so they can do the same. He has shown me the impossible so regularly I’ve been instructed to keep a record. By far the greatest of these is seeing the Gospel transform someone in an instant, many from atheism like me. For reasons I’ll never understand I get to co-labour with Christ, what a privilege. I don’t know why he chose me out of my friends & family to be the first to know Him but I’m determined not to waste it. I’m worse off financially, athletically and I’ve lost friends, but the cost is nothing compared to what He has given me and what a life on mission for Him offers. There’s nothing better and nothing close, I’ve checked.
Written by Aaron Leach.
I’m a 32 year old husband & father trying to multiply disciples & churches wherever God sends me as part of the NoPlaceLeft movement. Romans 15:23 & Matthew 24:14. I also do IT for The Message Trust.