When I set out on my journey to develop a personal relationship with God, one of the greatest difficulties I faced was distinguishing which aspects of my life were orchestrated by God and which were the fruits of my labour. For example, if I practised intensively for a driving test and passed with flying colours, was that God’s achievement or mine? Where was the line drawn? You may ask why it matters, but for years I’d wrestled with an unquenchable yearning to know God, to really know Him. Not just rely on the teachings of wise elders and holy books, but to have a direct relationship with God. It was an irrepressible fire that raged within and eventually became the genesis of an inspired idea; to experiment with my faith. I realised that if I used the events of my life, I would be able to identify God’s presence by stepping back at pivotal moments and doing nothing. Whatever then followed would be God at work.
Back in 2008 I was working in the financial services industry in a role which had become increasingly unbearable. That summer, I decided to return to my legal career and asked God to help me secure a new job. I half-expected an unsolicited opportunity to land in my lap, so was stunned to hear God ask me to resign immediately. Terrified at the prospect of unemployment I demurred and stalled for time, but God promised to surprise me. Even then I continued to resist until God responded with a sobering question, “Don’t you have faith?” I reflected on that for a few days before concluding that my faith was stronger than my fears and promptly resigned. I told my manager that I was leaving unless the company could move me into a legal role. That day I left the office on a high and as I headed home, I looked skywards and said, “Over to you!” A few days later the investment firm Lehman Brothers collapsed triggering a global financial crisis and the worst recession in decades.
What began as feelings of unease mushroomed into blind panic as the full extent of the economic meltdown began to unfold. But I managed to hold my nerve because pursuing my faith was more important than any job. A week later, I received a call from the General Counsel’s office informing me that I had been assigned to the senior legal team dealing with the global impact of the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy. Breathlessly, I listened as the caller recounted the expectations of the role and by the time the call ended, I was in a state of shock. This was a colossal opportunity and I was the beneficiary because I had resigned! That episode triggered the most extraordinary period of my career, during which I had the privilege of working with the brightest lawyers of my generation and advising on unprecedented issues with global consequences.
This and countless later experiences demonstrated how God played a pivotal role in my life. That He wasn’t a benign bystander but an active participant. I realised life was a partnership with God and found new meaning in, “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). It changed my life. Perhaps it could change yours? Have you thought about developing a personal relationship with God? Building your faith on your own experiences rather than the chronicles of others? Perhaps you don’t know where to start? Well, why not experiment? Start small with an innocuous issue – and build on it. Persevere. After all, your personal experiences will reveal God more clearly to you than what anyone else can teach you. And when that happens, your life will never be the same again. But don’t just take my word for it – see for yourself.