Age sixteen, a passenger on a train to nowhere. I immersed myself studying the philosophy of existentialism; concerned with finding self and the meaning of life through free will, choice, and personal responsibility. Quickly, I arrived at an end of myself. It was all meaningless. Despite having been a believer for about 3 years, I knew few genuine Christians. Our family’s church was Presbyterian: “God’s Frozen People”. A popular song of the day was entitled, “Is That All There Is?” Caught in the throes of teenage angst, I pondered those lyrics.
GOD STEPPED IN
God stepped in. A pastor invited me to go to a Missions Conference in western PA. I don’t know why he extended the invitation. Possibly out of the crowd of disinterested teens in our congregation, he saw in me a glimmer of hope. For whatever reason, I packed my bags to travel to an event where I knew absolutely no one.
IN THE MIDST OF MY BROKENESS
Among a crowd of strangers, I do not remember any of the week’s speakers, musicians, or activities, except for one afternoon. That message carried an arrow which shattered my cold heart. For years, I had been positive no one loved me; there was no purpose to my existence. God spoke in the midst of my brokenness. The first time in my life, I finally understood that with all my failings, God loved me desperately just as I was. I already understood that Jesus died for my sins, but I had never comprehended the depth of my salvation.
I WASN’T LEFT ALONE
Christ didn’t save me and then go on His merry way, wishing me a cheery, “Good luck!” over His shoulder. Jesus redeemed me “to bestow on me a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.” (Isaiah 61:3)
HIS BELOVED DAUGHTER
God stuck around for the hard work, of loving the unlovable and redeeming the unredeemable. I was His beloved daughter who would always be loved by her Heavenly Father. Of no consequence was my job performance and talents (or lack thereof).
Tears ran down my face. Pure joy and wonder now entered the equation. “When I look at the night sky and see the work of your fingers—the moon and the stars you set in place, what are mere mortals that you should think about them, human beings that you should care for them?” (Psalm 8:3-6) I knelt in awe, having realized I was not alone and life was not meaningless. My life finally had a destination as I discovered true eternity with Jesus Christ.