Dave Riley

From Cop to Jesus!

Dave Riley shares his real life story from FGB UK on Vimeo.

The First Challenge

After a Comprehensive Education and one of the first pupils to start on this stream of education. I left school with 2 ‘Levels. One ‘O’ Level in Geometric Engineering Drawing and a ‘Spirit Level, in Woodwork. However, it was at this Comprehensive School in Liverpool that I was first challenged by Jesus. It was during one particular R.E. lesson that I first heard : but I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. (Matthew 5:39, NIV).

This was at a time when the battle for ‘Cock’ of the school, was a very much sought after title of which there were many contenders. I managed to avoid being caught up in any battles but was soon to consider, (because of the way in which the teacher had put this lesson over) that if somehow Jesus, could be my ‘mate’ then somehow it would be possible to do what he was saying in this scripture. I have to say I soon dismissed it as folly but will remember the feeling I had that day for the rest of my life. It was a
sort of reassuring confidence which would allow me the boldness to try. After leaving school I started an apprenticeship with the Liverpool City Water Works as an apprentice mechanic. I completed my apprenticeship when I left the Water Board to join the Royal Air Force, where I stayed for some 3 yrs. I left the aAir Force in order to marry my wife in 1978. In 1979, I
joined the Merseyside Police with the aspirations of joining the Traffic Department. However before this could be achieved I had to prove myself worthy of such a calling ?

This led me into the city centre of Liverpool where I worked for several years which turned out to be a costly affair and led us to the verge of bankruptcy. I had without realising embarked upon a routine of going out on the town and painting it red, whenever we had been involved in a good arrest. This not only put a strain on our bank account but also our marriage.

In 1984, my elder brother, Neil, whom I had followed into the Air Force on his recommendation. Had found Jesus and to be honest became very much of a problem for us, as he kept thrusting his new found faith down our throats, I had reached in August of 1985, the point where I was about to discourage him from calling again unless he would keep this new found faith to himself. I was satisfied that I had nothing to find this religion for. After all, I was a ‘Big City Cop’ who had not gone out to hurt anyone, other than in self-defence and tried whenever possible, to treat people as I would expect to be treated if the ‘shoe was on the other foot’ so to speak.

It was around this time, I met a local ‘village bobby’ whom I had befriended ‘out in the sticks’ where we live. (Bob Carroll) He would walk around with his push bike and after inviting him in for a brew, we became friendly with him as a family. He turned out to be one of these ‘Born Again Christians’ who told me that if ever I had any questions or problems about what Neil had been telling us, that he would be happy to explain as best he could and said that I could contact him at any time of the day or night regardless of the time. This impressed me greatly and although I didn’t ring him
in the early hours of the morning he never turned me away. The Second Challenge. My brother Neil asked me the question. “What sort of a relationship do you have with God”? It was at this point I gave him an answer which I felt had answered his question but deep inside. I realised that I did not have any relationship with Him. To me, He was some God who was far away and useful for praying to when I wanted Liverpool to win ! And to help me through the Toxteth Riots in 1981, to come out unscathed.

I actually dreamt one night that I had given my life to Jesus and awoke the following morning telling my wife Jeanette, about the dream and we both, laughed it off as all that stuff Neil had told us was playing on my mind. However from that moment on I remember feeling such a beautiful peace flooding over me and feeling as though I was walking on air for at least 4 days. This was a strange but very wonderful sense of contentment with an overwhelming assurance that God was in control of my life. Then all of a sudden, although I didn’t realise it then, a sense of being cheated started to flood over me, where I found myself saying, “Fancy creeping up on me when I was unconscious in my sleep”. The enemy was trying to rob me of what God had done and I was believing him. I went to Bob explained what was going on and on 3rd August 1985. Together with Bob and a Jewish believer I gave my life to Jesus in Bobs back kitchen, knowing this was for real and was fully awake. This started off a chain of events which led to my being re-united with my sister whom I had grown so far away from due to childhood hurts which had created within me a hatred and indifference toward her, which was so strong, but one which I felt was perfectly justified. God thought otherwise and was quick to act moving on my heart in the only the way He could. Convicting me of my sin and giving me the grace to go and ask my sister for forgiveness. That moment was a wonderful moment, which I never thought, would ever be possible.

In the April of 1986 I was posted into the ‘Traffic Division’ and for me, completion had arrived. I was the happiest bobby in the whole of the Merseyside force. I was ecstatic I had arrived. I remained in ‘Traffic’ for nine years where my new found faith was never hidden and having ‘nailed my colours to the mast’ I came under a lot of suspicions and became the object of considerable scoffing. God was good to me and I fell more and more in Love with Him but I also became more and more in Love with my job.

This love of the job must have in some way offended God and I was deselected from ‘Traffic’ in its first downsizing programme in 1995.

From me. To me through him, I was so affected by this decision that I went into a clinical depression which took several months of treatment and counselling before I was able to return to work with any sort of confidence. My new Sgt. were doubtful of how much of a contribution I would be to their section, believing they were about to get a de-motivated and switched off bobby who would be more of a burden than a support and help. It turned out they were wrong and one Sgt in particular commented in a staff appraisal, of just how pleased he was to discover that I was prepared to work and worked hard within the team. He was such a help and support that I will always remember his kindness and belief in me.

Soon after in December 1996, I was struck down with what was eventually diagnosed as being M. E. or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, which it is more commonly known as now. This was to affect me for 2+1/2 yrs or more and resulted in a further 7 months off work before being allowed to return, on restricted duties, which would over a period of time, build up to an eventual return to full duties. It was during this time of being very weak in strength and more depressed than ever. I met an Australian ex- RUC policeman who had a Doctorate in Theology, Dr Norman Campbell who whilst touring Britain spoke these words of healing into my Spirit. But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary, and they shall walk, and not faint. (Isaiah 40:31, KJV). This for me was a word, which was to change not only the way I was to look at this illness but also showed me a clear sense of direction and a certain trust I could place in God to see me through. Dr Campbell was speaking to others but I knew that word was for me. I claimed it, believed it and received it as being for me. Then all I had to do was wait until God worked it out for me. I can tell you now that I have more Spiritual strength than I had before. My zeal and spiritual fervour are continually seeking God and I am now more willing than ever to serve Him, that the Father may be Glorified. In myself, I am nothing but with Jesus all things are possible. What seemed impossible for such a long time became possible. And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men, it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible. (Mark 10:27, KJV).