How old was I that night long ago? 15? 16?
I walked away from the God I met at age 10 when I knelt in the grass and prayed, asking Jesus into my heart – just as my Grandma had told me. She gave me a small, white Bible with a zippered case. “Read your Bible and remember to pray,” Grandma instructed.
This I did faithfully. I continued on, reading my Bible, praying, even watching Billy Graham. I always did my best to be very good. I did what I was told. I was Miss Goody Two Shoes. But it was lonely in those teenage years. No one in my family seemed to be on the same path. I had few friends.
Then one night, sitting alone in my room, I wondered about my life’s purpose. I cried out to this God I had followed so faithfully: “Please help me; I’m feeling lost. I need you to do something, anything. Just show me you’re there. Move the waste basket. Talk out loud. Give me something to hold on to.”
I sat and cried; I waited, watched, and listened. And you know what He did?
Nothing. Nothing at all.
It was as if He was there, sitting across from me on the bed, but silent. I continued to cry, and said to Him, “I can’t do it anymore. It’s just too hard.”
He did not respond. God remained silent.
So I quit trying to be good.
I joined the crowd. Did as they did. I have to admit, I had more friends. But in the back of my mind God was always there. I didn’t doubt His existence, just wasn’t sure if He cared. ‘Someday,’ I thought, ‘I’ll try again. Perhaps I’ll find someone who can help me.’ But I never was comfortable asking questions. I always tried to figure things out for myself.
So I wandered along life’s journey. Sometimes, I’d look for a path that would lead me to the answers I was seeking.
One night many years later, again, alone in my room, this God of mine decided to show up. I wasn’t praying, wasn’t asking Him to. He chose the time and date. A young mother, married now, He took me by surprise.
I was reading a book by Billy Graham, Peace with God. Nothing special, very simple, it showed me no revelation. Yet, as I read of Christ’s death on the cross, something happened I can’t explain. I saw Him there, Christ on the cross; I was looking into his eyes.
What I saw and continue to see in His eyes remains foundational to my relationship with Him today: the most intense love and the most intense pain. Both at the same time. In this same moment, I knew…
I was the object of that intense love, but at the same time, I was the cause of all that pain.
That night, when I wasn’t asking, He chose to speak to me. I felt His love and saw His pain. But he also spoke words to me. No promise, but a question. “Don’t you trust me?” he asked. I made excuses why I could not. (Amazes me still when I think of it today.) ‘I’m still just as weak as I was before. Besides, now I’m married. Are you speaking to him too?’
He didn’t answer my questions, just turned me to the face of His Son.
I was scared. I knew this choice was one that would turn my life upside down. But I chose. I could not say no. I could NOT refuse to trust the One I saw on the cross.
And yes, my life turned upside down. Often it was hard. As I journeyed, I questioned God. Why did you wait until that night? Why didn’t you save me the heartache and respond when I first called?
I’m still not certain of the answer. Why was God silent when a teenage girl cried out for help?
Perhaps because He knows me better than I know myself. I have a tendency towards self-righteous pride, and He knows it. If God would have answered all those years ago, would I have thought I could command Him at will? Probably so.
The theology of free will is strong in me, but it is balanced by an understanding of God’s total sovereignty. For of Him, and through Him and to Him are all things…Romans 11:36
I have found God to always be the initiator. When I come to Him, it’s because he is already calling me. When a gift or blessing is given, it has nothing to do with my merit or lack of it, but simply His choosing for His own reasons. When the enemy whispers in my ear, “You don’t deserve His mercy and love,” I simply respond back:
“I know. That’s what is so amazing about His grace. He gives out of who He is, not because of who I am or anything I have done.”
I cannot force His hand. I cannot make Him respond. He will choose when, how, and if. But I trust Him with that. I argue from time to time and ask why. Sometimes he answers, sometimes not.
He is Jesus, Yeshua, God my Savior. Never changing, always faithful, and that is enough. I trust His character, the selfless Love I see in His eyes and have continued to experience consistently in my life over the last 35 years.
Christ’s love has moved me to such extremes. His love has the first and last word in everything we do. I Cor 5:14 The Message
Kathleen Krueger is a full-time freelance writer and poet from Brainerd, Minnesota. Her intuitive, feelings-based personality strongly influences her creative writing, but is especially evident in her poetry, her first love, when it comes to crafting with words. She is a regular contributor to HerLife Magazine, among other print and online publications. You can follow her blog at www.living-listening-loving.
I met Kathy when we served on the launch team for Seth Barnes’ book Kingdom Journeys. I am thankful to her for sharing her story because I often wonder and am regularly asked about God’s sovereignty. Why wouldn’t God want a teen girl to follow Him? He does. Then, why wouldn’t He show Himself to her? Maybe He was…or chose not to. Why? I simply don’t know. I often say: I always understand His will, but rarely understand His ways.
Yet, I know He’s sovereign. I know His plans are greater and better than mine. So, I trust. I trust that He’s at work, especially when I can’t see it or feel it. Especially when I “think” He has forsaken me.
As Kathy’s looked back over her teen years, she realizes He was there all along. He didn’t leave her, nor forsake her. He was always hidden in the back of her heart after she decided to stop “being good” and “trying.” (Being good and trying is another post all by itself, huh?:)
And, from those years, she’s learned about Him and His love. That’s what makes story awesome. We see His faithfulness and His hand at work even when we think He’s left us. Thanks for showing us that, Kathy! Thanks for sharing.