I was born in 1948 in a small village in South Wales called Gwaun Cae Gurwen. My father, who was an atheistic spiritualist, had a strong influence on my early life. By my early teens I was a convinced atheist myself. After leaving university, I decided to spend three months in America before starting work. At this time gap years had not yet been invented! I worked for eight weeks in a Summer Camp teaching fencing and swimming, then spent the last four weeks travelling. To save hotel costs, I organised my itinerary to visit some of the other counsellors in the camp.
On one of my visits I ended up at the wrong farmhouse, but the people there kindly took me in. They clearly did not consider possessions important and did not even have a TV. Besides their obvious kindness in taking me into their home, I could see that they had an inner peace that I did not have. The only ‘clue’ I had that this peace came from God was that they had prayed before eating. I thought I had everything, health, a fiancée, a good job to go to, but I did not have what they had. I left there chastised; what if I was wrong and there was a God?
God does exist
From that moment, God made sure that I came to realise that he did actually exist. I received one ‘coincidence’ after another. I shall only mention the most significant here, but there were several others.
My next stop was Salt Lake City, where my guidebook had advised I could join other students and hire a car to see the Grand Canyon. What the guidebook had not said was that this was the world centre for the Mormons! I received several tracts, and although most of it seemed silly, I came from there realising that Jesus was important.
God is alive
I was engaged to be married, and when I came home I wanted my fiancée and I to start going to church, but she was not interested. So I prayed that God would change her mind. Soon afterwards she called our engagement off as she had met another man. Although it wasn’t the way I had intended, I realised God had answered my prayer. It was this answer that shocked me to the core: I realised that God was alive.
I am a sinner
I had started work for the coal industry as a trainee engineer. As part of my training, I went to Yorkshire for four weeks to work with a company making underground locomotives. On my way there in a car, I had this overwhelming desire to read the Bible, but at that time I did not possess one. When I got to my lodgings, there was a copy of the ‘Good News for Modern Man’ by the side of the bed. This is a very easy to read version, which suited me in my lack of understanding. Later I did buy a Bible for myself.
I had come to know not only that God was alive, but that I was a sinner in his sight. No-one had explained the Gospel to me, or if they had, it had never registered. All I knew was that I deserved to be punished by this holy God. I felt that I was standing at the edge of hell, not knowing how to avoid falling in.
My spiritual situation got so bad, that in December 1973, some 18 months after my first revelation that God might actually exist, I had to stop my car on my way back from work and ask for mercy. At that time, about the only bits of the Bible I knew reasonably well were the Acts of the Apostles and Exodus. I had studied these for my O Level Scripture Knowledge. From those two books, I had got the impression that when God visited, people knew it! Yet, nothing spectacular happened. The heavens remained silent. Had anything happened?
I am God’s child
From that moment, I was like a cat on a hot tin roof. I had a strong desire to go to church, yet I was afraid what people might say. I knew my heart, and I knew that I did not deserve to be in a church. I also felt that if I did go, I would be revealed as the hypocrite I was.
God sent my first cousin to invite me to go to church with her. I realised that this was yet another of God’s ‘coincidences’. So from January 1974, I regularly went to the church where she had taken me. Although I no longer remember the sermons, God was speaking through them to me. But I still had this doubt whether I was a Christian or not. How could God accept someone like me?
It was when I read 2 Corinthians 5:17, ‘Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation,’ that the penny finally dropped. It was the old Lyn that was the rebel against God. I was now a new Lyn, a Lyn that God had made his child.
So in March 1974, the Lyn Davies that was too afraid to even go to a church a few months earlier, in case of what people had thought, was willing to be baptised as a Christian in his own village! For now, I could testify that I had been changed by God’s grace.
I would love to say that from that moment, I went from strength to strength, but that would be a lie. In my Christian walk, I have had many a stumble and slip, but in every one of them, God has continued to be faithful. And I confess before man and God that it is by God’s grace that I am what I am. In my natural strength, there is nothing that is good. Any goodness I now demonstrate is only due to what God has done and continues to do in my life by his grace.