"Look at what Caitlin's wearing," my classmate whispered to her friend as I walked past her locker. She had an ugly smile on her face. "She's TRYING to fit in." They both burst into giggles. I pretended that I hadn't heard them as I continued past, but my heart sank. And then a fierce, angry determination came over me...."I'll show them...." I muttered under my breath.
I was afraid I'd be a SINGLE school teacher of other peoples' kids with none of my own... if I really gave my life to God!
When I was only seven years old, it became clear to me that I could have Jesus as my own Savior-not just because of my parents' faith. Though young, I really knew He was in my life because of His promise in the Bible: "The Lord goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged." (Deut 31:8, Heb 13:5)
Once again I was in darkness. My twin brother with whom I shared a room always fell asleep quickly. I enjoyed wrestling with him during the day, but I dreaded the wrestling match I faced each night. Out of the darkness imposing thoughts seized me like, "What would happen if I were to die tonight?" I didn't want to die, but it was the uncertainty of what followed death that really terrified me. In the morning after a particularly long night of struggling to fall asleep, I approached my mother in the kitchen.
The Romanian peasant was on his knees, frantically gathering the half-rotten apples strewn all over the mountain road. In the pitch darkness, our rickety little car had plowed into his cart, throwing him off and somersaulting his two horses. As a cold rain and snow fell on this surreal midnight scene, I had never felt less in control. I asked myself, “What in the world am I doing here?” At age 12, I had accepted Christ. The preacher in the big tent at the summer Bible Camp helped me to understand that I was a sinner and needed to receive God’s forgiveness through Jesus Christ.
"Jim, what is the matter with us? We say we are Christians, but our lives are no different than someone who doesn't claim to be one."
I grew up in a religious home. However, God was not real in my daily life. I was troubled by doubts. Religion for me was more of a tradition and following a list of dos and don'ts. God seemed far off.
During university, I was tempted to reject God but I couldn't honestly do so because of the exemplary life of my father. He was a biochemistry professor and also a true follower of Jesus Christ.
It happened when I was a teenager. I lay awake in the blackness of an isolated campground, my stomach in knots, shaking at the sound of every small animal that rustled in the grass. A police car had just come around to warn us that a girl had been brutally murdered in the park where we were camping and that the killer had not yet been found. My imagination went wild, wondering if I would be the next victim. I think I was born feeling afraid… afraid of germs, spiders, snakes, car wrecks, airplane crashes, disease, criminals. You name it, I was afraid of it.
We were best friends; neighbors. I don't even remember what made me so mad at my friend. I just remember feeling rage as my childish blows beat down on his neck and shoulders. It felt both good to express my anger and awful that I was so out of control. I ran home horrified at what I had done.
After a long pause on the telephone, the nurse finally said, "I will need to have the doctor call you back in a few minutes with the biopsy results."
I knew by her response that I did have cancer and that my life would be now going in a completely different direction than I had planned. It happened in a moment.
The Romanian peasant was on his knees, frantically gathering the half-rotten apples strewn all over the mountain road. In the pitch darkness, our rickety little car had plowed into his cart, throwing him off and somersaulting his two horses. As a cold rain and snow fell on this surreal midnight scene, I had never felt less in control. I asked myself, "What in the world am I doing here?"
What is in the heart of a little boy who has no father? No father to run to and say, "I hurt myself today" or "I had a fight today, but I won" or "Will you play soccer with me today?" And then, after getting a step-father, having the mother say, "Never disturb him, he is too busy."
This had a powerful effect on one little boy, me.