How old was I that night long ago? 15? 16? Somewhere in there. My awareness of God had always been keen. I’m sure I was only 10 that time I left Grandma’s house and upon returning home knelt in the grass and prayed as she had said asking Jesus to come into my heart. When next I visited I shared it with her. Gentle instruction she gave as she brought me a gift. A small white Bible with a zippered case. A small gold cross dangle as the zipper pull. Read my Bible and remember to pray was the instruction she gave. This I did faithfully. Praying ‘lay me down to sleeps’ and Our Fathers each night. I’d seen the love of God in Grandma and the majesty and wonder of Him in his creation. I had no doubt of his existence but I longed for more. I went through the two years of confirmation, waiting and listening. When would they tell us that great kept secret? The classes were coming to a close. The sacraments, that must be it! But no. The final interview with the pastor, nothing more to complete. Would he tell me? Would he give the answer? Nothing. Nothing at all.
I continued on, reading my Bible, praying, even watching Billy Graham and of course always doing my best to be very good. I did what I was told. I didn’t try cigarettes. I was miss goody two shoes 100%. But it was lonely out there in those teenage years and I wondered, was this it? Then the night came, sitting alone in my room. My sisters were absent, I don’t know why. But sitting there all alone I wondered what was the purpose of my life. I cried out to this God I had followed so long. Please help me, I said, I’m feeling lost. What plans do you have for me? What direction should I go? I’m lonely without any friends. I need you to do something, anything. Just show me your there. Move the waste basket. Talk out loud. Give me some little thing to hold onto. And I sat and I cried and I waited and watched. And you know what He did? Nothing. Nothing at all. It was like I knew He was there just sitting across from me on the bed. But silent, not speaking, not making a sound. I continued to cry and said, ‘I can’t do it anymore. I’m not even going to try. I’m to quit this trying to be good. It’s just too hard.’ He did not respond. Not a word did He speak. God remained silent.
So I did. I quit trying to be good. I even tried to swear. But only once and then quickly ran to the bathroom and repented the deed. I tried to smoke but that was awful and I drank the beer my parents gave me, even though I hated the taste of it. I joined the crowd. Did as they did. Got to admit, I had a few more friends. But in the back of my mind it 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 yet who can tell me the answer. I never asked Grandma. She no longer lived down the road. It wouldn’t have been convenient I suppose.
So I wandered along the journey of life. Sometimes looking, listening, slightly seeking for the path that would lead me to the answers I was seeking. Then one night, 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, the date and the season. A young mother and married now, he took me by surprise, unexpected to me. I was reading this book by Dr. Graham, nothing special, very simple, it showed me no revelation. But as I read of the death on the cross, something happened I cannot explain. I saw him there, in some fashion, Christ on the cross, me looking into his face. I saw the depth of his love and his pain. And at that same moment a ‘knowing’ came to me that I myself was the the object of the intense love but also the cause of that most intense pain, both at the very same time. This night, when I wasn’t asking, He chose to speak to me in more than one way. A vision was planted that remains clear to this day. I see his eyes. I feel the love and the pain. It becomes particularly real when I take the bread and drink from the cup. In those times tears will inevitably flow. But words he also spoke that night. No promise, but a question. ‘Don’t you trust me?, he said. I made all my excuses why I could not. (Amazes me still when I think of it today.) I’m still just as weak as I was before. And besides now I’m married. Are speaking to him too? He didn’t answer my questions just turned me again to his face. It scared me to death. I knew I couldn’t turn back. Somehow I knew this choice was one that would turn my life totally upside down. But I chose. I could not say no. I could NOT refuse to trust the one on that cross.
And yes, my life turned upside down. Often it was hard. My husband didn’t understand. It’s nice you want to be a Christian but do you need to take it this far? As I journeyed the journey, I questioned my 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 for the silence of God when a young teenage girl cried out for help. But I think in part he knew me better than myself. A tendency towards some self-righteous pride I’ve found in me. Would I have thought I could command Him at will? A theology of free will is strong in me. Calvinism I don’t seem to grasp. But never the less it is balanced by an understanding of His total sovereignty. ‘For of Him, and through Him and to Him are all things’, says the writer of Romans. I have found Him to always be the initiator. When I come to Him it is 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 is the very thing that 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 even if. But I trust Him with that. I argue from time to time and ask the question why. Sometimes he answers, sometimes not. He is Jesus, Yeshua, God my Savior. Never changing, always faithful and that is enough.