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Warcry: Changed from the inside out

Mark Sheppard tells his story to WarCryMark Shepherd asks, ‘Why would you believe in God? Really!

Have you ever wondered how God could possibly have created the earth, the universe or even us? Or if God was so loving and good, why does he let the poor be poor, children die, bad people live and so on? I had these questions all the time.  

I have been pushed further away from God because of this man-made thing called religion. I mean, really, with all the rubbish out there on what you should believe, no wonder it is such a battle for God to reach us easily.  

My previous thought was, ‘If this is what God is about, I don’t need or want it.’
I spent my youth hanging with mates, partying, fooling around, getting into trouble, experimenting, just trying to enjoy life and survive it. But when I was alone, I started wondering, ‘Is this all my life is going to be; chasing my tail and ending up exactly where I started?’  

I know so many people feel like there is a hole deep inside that is not satisfied by anything—not alcohol, drugs, sex, traveling, running away, chasing crazy easy-fix solutions like get-rich-quick schemes. I’m guessing people could spend their whole lives wondering what is missing from their lives. 

I’m 30 years old and I let God into my life one year ago. Years of confusion and going around in circles led me to asking those questions, especially in those deep dark holes of depression, anxiety and confusion (where everything is cloudy, too hard, and too big to deal with). I had no direction and felt totally alone. Oh, how things change when you decide ‘enough is enough’.

For me God was put in the ‘too-hard basket’.  I could not contemplate how he did everything he did. It blew my mind so much it was too unbelievable so I put God to the side. But I did believe in Jesus.

One day, my wife found a church where she felt she belonged and could be with God and like-minded people. My attitude for a few weeks was, ‘good for you’, until one week I had to go into church (Launceston, Tas. Salvos’) and pick up my little boy. 

The Salvos’ was modern, warm, friendly, supportive and encouraging. It opened my eyes to the change from wooden pews, dull, monotone preachers and the feeling of guilt and shame lingering in the air. But I still had a hard heart.  

After a couple weeks my wife was beaming and couldn’t wait to get to church, and all those questions I had written above came flooding back. I then had a simple revelation; I believed there was Jesus and I believed there is a Satan. And I asked myself, ‘If Jesus is right about good and evil, God and Satan, at the end of my life where do I want to be, heaven or hell?’

I chose God’s side. What did God do for me once I accepted him into my life? A lot of it is hard to explain to people who have never believed in God, but all of it is in the Bible—to put it simply, the passion for life that I had lost from deaths and depressions was rekindled. My love for everything was increased. My life has changed for the better in just one year. God’s spirit rebuilt me from the inside out, giving me gifts of prophesy, speaking in tongues and visions to help others. 

I have peace, love and endless blessings, and I finally have meaning and direction to my life. It is now impossible for me to understand why I was so scared of God in the first place.

Other stories from Warcry

To read other stories from past issues of WarCry, click here.