Saturday, July 06, 2024

Shocked & Sad

All photos courtesy of Unsplash 

Some time ago I happened to watch part of the television programme, “Who Do You Think You Are?”.  It is a programme that looks into a person’s family history and often there are surprises concerning an ancestor.  Sometimes there are smiles of delight and at other times tears of sadness of what an ancestor may have experienced.  On this particular programme the actor Ralf Little, who has appeared on television programmes such as ‘Death in Paradise’, was finding out about his forefathers.

He had grown up with a rumour that a part-time footballer on his mother’s side had been an international player.  He was delighted to find out that his mother’s grandfather, Albert Lockley, had played for Wales. It was a match against Ireland in 1898.  Ralf was really pleased to find out that the rumour or family legend was actually true.  He went to the club where his great grandfather had played and sat in the stand as he spoke with a local historian. Then he heard some new information about the footballer that seemed to devastate him.  He made it clear how shocked and sad he was to hear that information. 
He had found that Albert at the age of 29 had given up football and never returned to the sport again. In 1904/5 revival came to Wales and many people found a new direction in life and indeed a new life in Christ. Albert gave up football to dedicate his life to follow Jesus.  This was quite beyond the understanding of Ralf Little.  He had never heard of the Welsh revival, seemed to have no idea of what it meant to be a Christian and clearly stated his own atheistic beliefs.  Ralf when he understood what his great grandfather had done was, to use his own word, ‘gutted’.

It is an interesting reaction as for Ralf playing football was considered much more important than serving God.  For Albert serving God was much more important than playing football.  Albert had found something more satisfying than kicking a leather covered bubble of air and had come into a living and fulfilling relationship with God through Jesus Christ.  If Ralf had looked a little more closely into the details of the Welsh revival he would have found that society was changed for the better.  Drunks stopped wasting their money and used it to buy essentials for their wives and families.  Abuse reached an all time low. Crime was so reduced that many police departments and local law courts had little or nothing to do.  Debts, even some of long standing which had been written off by store owners, were paid.  The people were happier and enjoyed worshipping God and singing His praises.

Ralf’s atheism does not stand up to scrutiny when we consider the wonder of creation, the person of Christ and sense of accountability which we all have.  Where did the idea of love come from, the blessing of relationships and the desire to be kind and supportive to those who cannot help themselves?  Nothing explains these factors except the reality of God who has implanted in us a conscience and when that conscience is cleansed through faith in Christ then true love and care for others follows as was seen in the Welsh revival.  Anyone who comes to Christ in true faith is changed for the better forever.  May we know that blessing

Written by PAUL YOUNG


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