A Significant Birthday

I had an important birthday recently: 40 years ago this March I became a Christian. I remember very clearly walking out of the room where it all happened into a corridor and knowing that things were different. It was only over the next days and weeks that I properly understood exactly what had happened.

From that moment, everything changed for me. My non-Christian family thought I’d gone bonkers but that it would soon blow over. It hasn’t yet!

Over those forty years the most amazing thing to me has been God’s incredible patience with me and His grace. I’ve made so many mistakes, disobeyed Him so many times, lived for years at a time deliberately and knowingly flouting His will, lived a half-hearted Christian life much too often… I could go on and on. But He has always been there, He has never let go.

There’s a song by French Canadian singer Luc Dumont which for me expresses this extremely well, called Malgré Tout (Despite Everything in English):

Here are some of the words:

J’ignore combien de fois
Dans mon cœur, je t’ai trompé
J’ignore combien de fois
Ton humble cœur, j’ai attristé

Pendant si longtemps
Ma vie ne fut que manquements
De plus en plus loin de mon but
Je m’éloignais de Jésus

Malgré tout, tu m’as pardonné
Malgré tout, la croix tu m’as donné
Malgré tout, tu as su oublier
Tout cela, malgré tout

The first verse in English is (roughly):

I don’t know how many times
In my heart, I’ve cheated you
I don’t know how many times
Your humble heart, I’ve grieved

Malgré tout, despite everything, for more than forty years now, You have stuck with me, Jesus: thank You, thank You, with all of my heart.

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