When truck driver Cliff Roberts turned up to church after being persuaded by his wife and sister to attend, he thought he’d ask ‘this Jesus fella’ to cure his nerve condition. Shortly afterwards, his life changed forever and Cliff received a gift he would never forget.
“I found Jesus after crying out to him to heal me of what was then an incurable condition known as trigeminal nerve disorder. It was very painful down the right side of my head, face, neck and shoulders.
“My sister, Carol, who was a born-again Christian, rang my cab phone and suggested that I ask Jesus to heal me and asked what had I got to lose. So, I asked this Jesus fella to heal me. I gave him a condition that if he did it I would believe in him and follow him.
“I never really expected anything to happen, but over the course of that week he totally healed me.
“When I returned home after one week I had to eat humble pie to my big sister Carol and my wife, Lottie, who had also become a Christian. I confessed that I was healed, and that it was down to Jesus.”
Cliff, 64, was born and bred in Stoke-on-Trent. He was a truck driver for many years but was full of anger, possessed a vile temper, and he hated homeless people. It’s a far cry from the man he is today.
“God worked on me in the following months, cleaning my life up from pornography, a foul mouth and being a thief,” Cliff says. “In fact, it was known that if it wasn’t nailed down I would steal it – whether I needed it or not! I was a man with an angry, vicious temper. I also hated homeless and needy people with a passion.”
It’s ironic when you look at Cliff’s life today. “Two years ago I was asked by a friend, Ann Grainger, to lead and pastor a ministry for the homeless and needy that was to be called REACH,” he says. “Today, I not only work with these people, but God has given me a loving heart for them.
“I’ve seen people come off drugs and alcohol and be given a new home which we furnish for them. Through this work many have come to know Jesus.
“I used to avoid churches like the plague, but on that first Christmas after I’d been healed, my wife Lottie and sister Carol persuaded me to go to the New Springs Church in Bucknall. Pastor Trevor Weaver was taking the Christmas morning service. Even though the service was short I felt an overwhelming peace and joy come over me and I knew there and then that I had been touched by whom I now know to be the Holy Spirit. From that day on I couldn’t get enough of church and I started seeking all that God had for me. I truly had become a new creation. Christmas now holds a special meaning for me.
“From this time my sister Carol, who saw the biggest change in me, poured so much time and effort into my walk with Jesus, supplying me with my very own Bible and continually conversing and answering all the questions I had about the Lord.
“There were many long discussions on my cab phone, and DVDs and CDs bought for me to watch and listen to on the nights I was away from home in my truck.
“My truck was my idol and god. It was adorned with lights and truck goodies, but as the Bible says, these things rot and perish. Then I met Jesus and he became my God, and my total focus swung off the truck and onto him. The truck did rot and went for scrap a few years ago!”
For many years Cliff was at odds with his father, but after his salvation God restored their relationship. He revealed, “All my side of the family were in Christ except my estranged father. God put this right and four years before he died my dad ended up living within 100 yards from me. Carol and I would talk to him about Jesus.
“One day the conversation of baptism came up and Dad asked why he couldn’t be baptised. We led Dad to the Lord and I baptised him at the grand old age of 82. What a day that was!”
Today Cliff and his wife are members of The Gideons, with responsibility for handing out over 5,000 Bibles to school children, local Police Force candidates, and to both the Universities of Staffordshire and Keele.
Cliff’s mentor, Pastor Phil Weaver, of Loughborough New Springs Elim, married Cliff and Lottie shortly after Cliff’s salvation. Phil says, “Both Cliff and Lottie gave their lives to Christ in a small church in Stoke-on-Trent on Christmas Day morning. What a wonderful day to meet Jesus for the first time.
“There was only a very small number of people there at that service, but God the Holy Spirit was there, and he made it his business to draw this couple to the one whose birthday was being celebrated. Cliff and Lottie were never to be the same again.
“Their lives have become a powerful testimony of the all-consuming, transforming power of Jesus Christ.
“Having lived together for over three decades they knew they needed to put their lives right before God and get married.
“And what an honour it was to play a significant part on the day of their marriage. What a superb celebration that was! I thank God for them and it’s a privilege to know them and to see what God is doing in and through them.”
Cliff adds, “Through Phil’s guidance and his brotherly love I have grown in wisdom and confidence.
“I still go back to my spiritual birthplace at Pastor Trevor Weaver’s church where I first walked in on that very special Christmas morning and met with our living God.
“Someone once said that after a couple of years of being a Christian I’d calm down. Well, I haven’t yet! And to be honest I hope I never lose my zeal for the Lord. I’m as excited today as ever.”