Of course I didn’t realise it then but I was in very serious trouble. Here I was, cut off from Bible study and contact with Christians, thinking I was safe and secure with God.
I don’t mind saying that I am a bit slow and very stubborn sometimes. It took more than five years for me to fully recognise that I had never been truly saved. Nothing had really changed in my life. I did continue to read my Bible and pray, but intermittently and often when I was in trouble or wanted something. There were many nighttimes during those years when I cried and cried myself to sleep, asking God to help me. The next morning, however, I would carry on as before. The pain of self-pity had passed and I was back to running my own life, as always.
It may help you to know that from my teenage years right into my late twenties I was a bit of a rebel. I didn’t get into anything illegal but I did have a habit of trying to be very different from the crowd. During this time, for instance, thanks in part to my Christian Brothers education and a trip to the Irish Summer College in the Gaeltacht in Rannafast, I changed my name to its Irish spelling, MacCárthaigh (I still use that form today). I wore an Afro hairstyle for many of those years too. It would be fair to say that those who knew me were never too surprised to hear me come out with some new idea, religious or otherwise. So, when I told my friends what was going on, they would take it in their stride, dismissing it all as another of ‘his crazy notions’.