There is a way that leads to freedom, joy and fulfillment. This way can remain hidden until we are ready to step on it.
The disappointed child
When I was approximately four years old, I decided to check out my mom’s God. My parents weren’t churchgoers, but since my mother grew up as a Catholic, she wanted me to know about God.
One early afternoon, while she was having a nap, I sneaked into the bathroom, knelt on the floor next to the washing machine, and began to talk to God. He didn’t reply. I began to flatter Him, telling Him how wonderful He was, but nothing happened. I remember getting frustrated and also disappointed. It bothered me that God didn’t show up. I thought, “Maybe, I need to provoke Him to anger.” The kind of reply I might get was not as significant as the certainty of His existence.
So again, I went to the bathroom while mom was having her snooze, knelt on the floor, and began to insult God. No need to repeat the words I wasn’t allowed to repeat. Nothing happened. Disappointment, bitterness, and frustration settled in my heart.
Hidden answer late revealed
Years later, I suddenly recalled a situation that must have happened not long after having called and yelled out to God on that bathroom floor. However, I did not understand then that it was a reply from God.
I sat on the patio one early Saturday evening. Father stood behind me and smoked a cigarette. I looked to the sky and noticed those amazing fluffy clouds, shaped like oval bundles of cotton wool. We call them sheep clouds in German. I said to my dad, “Oh, look at those little sheep clouds”. His reply was the answer from God, but I did not recognize it. He said, “Yes, those are the loving God’s sheep who are going to sleep now. And you are one of God’s sheep, and you will go to bed too.”
And more signs
There are other instances that, when looking back and pondering about it, I must admit were signs of God’s presence, His love, and total awareness of who I was, where I was, and what I was going through.
My childhood experience was often a lonely one. My brother and sister were much older, and my parents worked until late in the evening. In the afternoon, my mom and I used to walk the dogs, and sometimes we just walked along an avenue with trees on either side. Especially during the spring and early summertime, ladybirds were plentiful, and I used to look out for them. I let them crawl onto my finger and waited until they took flight when the wind blew slightly stronger. Oh, how I loved those tiny creatures, with their pretty red wings and black dots on the wings!
Not long ago, God reminded me of those walks with the search for ladybirds. Each ladybird had been a love sign from Him. But I didn’t realize it.
The mindful God
I am telling these stories because I believe that God is mindful of every person that ever lived, whether this person was aware of Him or not. He knows the state of our hearts and longs to connect with us in a loving relationship.
I did not know God
My interest in God became biased from that experience of no answer when I was so very young. After our move to the countryside, I regularly went to Sunday school. I loved the Sunday school teacher. Her warmth and friendliness touched my heart. I still remember some of the lovely songs about Jesus.
I didn’t meet God, but He knew me and pursued me. I know this only from hindsight.
Creating me outside of God
I started my teenage years focusing on being different from the status quo. I made my own clothes from old curtains and wore tatty jeans. Those jeans added to my being cool, and one of my friends asked if she could borrow them for a week.
I had become so estranged from the idea of God that I got pretty annoyed when one school friend of mine suddenly confessed to believing in Jesus Christ. “What the heck was all this about?”, I thought. “Does she need a crutch? Is she so helpless to lean onto a God? It’s all in her imagination. There is no God, and I do not need a God. I can live my life by myself.”
I had made a clear statement, but it was not easy to put the issue aside. Those “Jesus Freaks” followed me. Whenever they saw me on the other side of the road, they crossed over to challenge me with their religious blurb. I was pretty irritated by these constant attacks.
Yet, the continuous confrontations had the effect of my having to think about the issue. I was surprised that so many of my friends and schoolmates had bought into this religious issue. Maybe, it was a fad, and it would pass. But a girl needs to have her own opinion, and so I created my own ideas.
At that time, I had a boyfriend who was a very eloquent writer of short stories and poems. So, I put my ideas into a poem.
The poem told the story of Jesus, who lived on a different planet. He had made a bet with his pals that he could end the war, strife, and any form of violence for humans to live in peace. The last line of my poem was: “He lost that bet.”
Inspiration from the universe
Now the planet idea certainly stemmed from my interest in astronomy at that time. I loved reading about the planets, our solar system, and the stars in general. Eventually, one thing began to bother me: “If the sun was a dying star, how would we as human beings be able to survive once it was gone?”
Questions of eternity and the meaning of life, in general, began to preoccupy my mind.
Two years earlier, I tried to avoid the Jesus freaks. Now I started to ask my schoolmate, a professing believer in Jesus Christ, all kinds of difficult questions during lessons.
I had turned from hiding from religion into searching out religious matters. I asked tough questions, and I hoped for no answer. It should cause my schoolmate to question his faith. That would have been a very welcoming sign for me that it was an invented crutch by many unstable and life incompetent young people. Unfortunately for me, my school friend’s ignorance didn’t bother him at all. He remained sure and steadfast concerning his faith. How bothersome for me! I couldn’t catch him on this one.
Pursued by endless love
I believe God kept at me all those years. He pursued me without me being aware of it. Inner unrest concerning life and its meaningfulness remained and didn’t let me sleep for many nights. I was searching.
I remember my thoughts about the possibility of an existing God one night in a tent at a Swiss lakeside. “Oh, if only it were true. If a God gave meaning to life and everything that existed, I would love to believe it, but cannot lie to myself. I cannot just believe something that is not true.”
Nine months later, I had just finished reading a couple of books that talked about the Bible, God, the devil, and fallen nature, and I didn’t understand a word of it. The books had been lent to me by my good friend with whom I used to cruise all known parties in town on Saturday evenings. It was fascinating how many people he knew, and I wasn’t ever bored for quite some time. One Saturday evening was different. He took me to an evening meal come lecture. I was astonished when I saw some of the people from my school’s Bible group. They had just finished a meal. I remember somebody asking me if I believed in God, and I replied, “If it’s true, I would, but I cannot believe something that is not true.” I cannot remember what his reply was. To me, that was the end of the subject.
God never gives up
But not for God. During the following talk by a monk in plainclothes, I suddenly became aware of something I had never encountered before. It was as if God had filled my life and showed me that He existed. I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt. Immediately I concluded the following: “I have two options, one, I can ignore this, run away and keep running all my life, pretending God was not real. Then I would live a lie, something I didn’t want to do. Or, I own up to the fact that God is real, tell Him that deep down I knew that all along, admit that He was right and I was wrong and live my life with Him.” I chose the second option.
From then on, my life changed. It became enriched. Everything was full of meaning. God existed and was deeply interested in me. I was because there was a God that had thought of me and created me. After all, he delighted in me. My God, the creator of the universe, was bigger than my circumstances, greater than any challenge I had to face. Life became colorful, joyful, and worth living. I had found a peace that the world had not been able to give, and my heart was at rest.
About me, you and the kindest person there ever was, is and will be
Even though my title to this blog is “Finding the way,” I don’t believe we can ever find God unless He draws us towards Him and reveals Himself in ways that we can comprehend. You cannot encounter God unless He lets Himself be known, but He has also promised that the person who seeks God will find Him. God will let Himself be known.
Who has found God has come home, for we were created for love, acceptance, joy and peace, and freedom that the world cannot give.
It is how it happened to me. God had been there all my life, but I hadn’t ever been aware of it.
God is here, right where you are. He knows you, loves you, and longs for fellowship with you.
He is the kindest person there is, and He cannot but show kindness to you. Should you have said or done bad things, God will not come and scold you or punish you. He will come with who He is; love through and through, He will show you kindness. His glorious presence will give you all you need, peace, joy, acceptance, cleansing, restoration, and healing. When God comes, He will bring along all of His character and His gifts.
A simple prayer
God, I want to know you, I want to live my life with you, I want you to be my Father, and I want to meet with you. You told me that you are love, always good and very kind. Through Jesus you created a way for me to be with you. I accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. Please forgive all my sins and come into my life. Amen
And a piece of advice
Make sure to meet up with believers and have fellowship with them. You might want to find a church where you feel comfortable. It is vital to be together with like-minded people. God bless you.