My Point of No Return


They say that as an aircraft sits at the end of a runway and begins to increase its thrust, there is an imminent stage of the take-off that every plane reaches—the point of no return. This was me in 2001. My life was the plane hurtling down a runway, not knowing I was about to reach my point of no return.

The passenger
I grew up in a typical middle-class Australian home. We lived in the suburbs, Dad worked in sales and loved his Landcruiser, Mum was a nurse, we camped on Stradbroke Island (Qld) for holidays. We had BBQs on the beach for Christmas and Australia Day, watched the cricket on summer weekends, followed the V8 Supercars, and supported the Brisbane Broncos in the winter. I had a younger sister and brother—just a regular Australian family. Although both of my parents had been born into Christian homes, by the time I was two they had, like many, left the faith and sought a life without God.

I finished high school in the ’90s and started studying computer science at university right as the dot-com bubble began. It was great. I worked for some of the largest companies in Australia, designing IT systems, solving problems, writing code and getting paid extremely well. I loved the challenge of being given problems and coming up with solutions. By the end of the ’90s, I was driving brand-new cars and travelling all over Asia and Europe; by the end of the millennium, I was building my first house and was engaged. Friends and family would say I was born with “the lucky gene”. By the time I reached my early 20s, I considered myself an atheist and saw religion as a control mechanism for the weak-minded. Little did I know, the life I had been building, crafting, scheming and planning was about to be shaken to its very core.


The mirror
It was Friday night. I was out with my mates in a nightclub in Brisbane. We had been there for a few hours and it was hot. I headed to the bathroom to splash some cold water on my face to cool down.

I got to the sink and it was dark, with purple lights. There was the faint sound of a thumping bass line in the background. I bent over to splash water into my face and instantly there was a relief to the heat. But as I slowly stood up and looked into the mirror, I saw, standing behind me, a dark, shadowy figure looking over my shoulder with piercing eyes. I turned around to face off with this stranger but there was nothing and nobody there. I swung back around to look in the mirror and there it was again. Turning back around and again, it was gone. I don’t remember hearing words, but more like a sensation, an impression, something like, “You’re a slave to me!” It’s hard to put into words, but something like—“You can run, you can hide, but you are mine!”. Whatever it was, I was out of that bathroom and out of the club as fast as I could. You see, as a non-religious person, as a believer in “facts only”, I did not believe in metaphysical things like this. The encounter troubled me so profoundly that I decided to stop drinking, as I thought for sure that had to be the explanation.

The storm
A few months went by and a few mates invited me out agaim. I told them I’d come, but I’m not drinking. And so, we hit the town. We went through the routine of clubs and bars, and at about 3am, we were sitting in front of a fast-food store having our early morning munchy session. By about 4am, everyone was in the car passed out and I was driving them south along the Pacific Motorway. Then out of nowhere, a lightning and thunderstorm hit, but there was no rain, just an incredible display of lightning. Starting on the western horizon, the lighting would work its way across the sky’s dome, splintering eastward towards Moreton Bay. It was the most incredible lightning show I’ve ever seen to this day. I pulled the car over and parked in a field. I got out, and I stood, eyes fixed upward, just taking in the scene. The smell of negative ions and the feel of the static electricity in the air caused the hair on my arms to stand on end. It was an incredible moment.

And then it happened. I was paralysed as I stood there looking up. I couldn’t move a muscle. And out of nowhere, the thought came to me that if there is an end to this world, this is how it would start. I remember being shocked. But before I could process what I was thinking, the next thought came, if the world ends and there is a God, then you’re lost. As if that was not shocking enough! Still, while standing there gazing up at the sky, someone or something triggered a scene-by-scene playback of my life, starting with me as a child and then passing through the years until that very moment. Each scene that passed before me was of me committing wrongdoings of various descriptions. I saw myself in primary school stealing money from my mother’s purse to spend at the shops. I saw myself lying to people. I saw myself fighting, misleading and lusting. It was like someone had filmed me every day of my life and decided to rewind it and press play. I was stunned. I had always seen myself as a good person, someone who was a good community citizen, someone who paid their taxes, voted and obeyed the civil laws. And yet, here I was, confronted with my own memories condemning me. And just as quickly as it all had started, it was over.


The prophecy
September 11, 2001, began as any other typical day. But no-one could predict what lay ahead for America, or for that matter the world: four planes, three buildings and about 3000 deaths. Whatever your views are on 9/11, we can all agree that it changed the world forever.

When I first saw the news, that incredible footage of planes flying into the World Trade Centre in New York, I thought to myself: these are some fantastic special effects. I wondered what the movie was. You see, there was an obsession with Hollywood around the year 2000 to create films depicting the end of the world. However, as I changed channels, the story was the same, the pictures the same and the captions the same: “America under attack”. This was really happening!

I had a flashback to that night just a few months earlier, in the field, with the thought, if there is an end to the world, I’m lost and then that sense of overwhelming guilt from my personal movie highlights reel that I saw in my mind’s eye. And then next, it was like I was being dragged back to that nightclub and placed back into the presence of that dark, shadowy figure with piercing eyes and again reliving that feeling of oppression and captivity. Was this the beginning of the end of the world? I didn’t know it then, but it would be the beginning of the end of my world—as I knew it.

Arriving at work that morning, it was the only topic anyone was talking about. Suddenly, a co-worker (a fellow atheist) abruptly informed me that “this was all predicted”. I asked what do you mean? He then shared with me a prophecy written by Nostradamus. I was surprised as we didn’t buy into this “whole predicting the future” stuff. After he saw my confusion, he burst into laughter, as he didn’t believe for a moment that Nostradamus’ prophecy was accurate—it was a joke. But little did he know that this thought that “predictions might exist” or that they might “help to make sense of this moment” set me up for a series of events that were about to shake the very foundation of my world.


The quest
I began searching and exploring predictions, prophecies—anything that might make sense of the new world we were all now living in. My quest took me to ancient texts and supposed sacred manuscripts of Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Judaism, Christianity, and various other tribal religions around the world. And ultimately, what I discovered brought the realisation that I had reached my own point of no return.

My point of no return
I found in the pages of ancient manuscripts from the Dead Sea Scroll of Isaiah a claim like no other. The supposed author, “God”, claims that “I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me” (Isaiah 46:9). This was remarkable, as no other religion, no other sacred text makes such a bold claim. But what came next in the passage grabbed my problem-solving mind. “Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done” (Isaiah 46:10). This scroll claimed to be authored by not just a god, but the only God. How can you verify His claim? Through prophecy. Prophecy is God’s signature, the evidence that He is who He says He is.

After studying biblical prophecy, I was faced with my point of no return. The evidence was overwhelming. The predictions of the biblical manuscripts are both historically and prophetically accurate. And so, I was faced with two options. Either these documents were a hoax or they were supernatural. With the weight of the evidence, I decided to start a “faith experiment” to test the claims and the teachings of the biblical manuscripts. Jesus taught that He had come to give us a life that was more superior in both quantity and quality. He taught that if you seek Him first—everything else falls into place. But it seemed to me that the only way to know for sure would be to experiment with faith. And so, this year, I celebrate the 21st year of my faith experiment. I had reached a point of no return. And so, I chose to let God be the captain of my flight and I can say with confidence—that faith works.

Robbie Berghan hosts The Faith Experiment Podcast on Faith FM Radio. You can listen to the full story of how Robbie’s faith experiment began at

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