After A Long Walk Astray,
Jesus Finally Saved Me
By B.D., Germany, February 2009
My search began when my mother developed cancer and died shortly thereafter. It was ovarian cancer that grew fast at her age of 47. In September, she had been to a medical prevention check up and nothing was found wrong with her. Yet only five months later, she passed away.
The pastor who burried her said that she was in heaven now. Those words comforted me in that moment, but at the same time, I was concerned.
I had once talked about death with my mom and she said she figured it would be kind of like a long sleep - and she loved sleeping - and now, she was gone. She was the first dead person I had ever seen. The evening she died, I wasn't able to visit her like my sister and dad did, since I still had to work. When I finally arrived at the hospital, my dad and sister were already gone, and she had passed away. She even wasn't in her room anymore, but had been transferred to a special room. What I saw laying there was her, yet at the same time wasn't. I only noticed her remains. The person that had inhabited her body and that had been so familar to me, was gone - she was dead. I couldn't grasp it. There was no possibility left for me to ever talk with her again... I was 23 back then and I felt so very alone.
Several differences of opinion came to my mind. I would have loved so much settling them by talking to her. But time had past. Drowned in tears I took the subway home.
With hindsight I can say that this was the time my search began...
I read several books on near-death-experiences by Swiss-American author Elisabeth Kübler-Ross. I read a lot of books on life and death. My unrest remained. In order to soothe myself, I began practicing yoga, since I always liked gymnastics. However, a girlfriend of mine, who had become a Christian, warned me of yoga. She said she had once seen a scull while practicing yoga. I told her that I hadn't seen anything and went on with it for a long period of time.
But it didn't satisfy me. I still didn't know why I was here on earth and where my mom was and I still had this big unrest in me and nobody was able to answer my life's questions.
Then I began to attend an encounter group that was led by psychologists who were followers of the Bhagwan cult. I kind of liked it there, I was busy with something and met new people who I thought could help me. But I somehow began to realize that they couldn't help me either, since they were questioning their own lifes the way I questioned mine.
In one occasion, I had to stand inside a circle with those encounter people around me and I had to tell them how I felt. I was standing there and said, "I am small and dumb." But something inside of me was shouting, "No, this is not me!" and I left the circle. I sensed limitations in me that I didn't want to surpass. And who of those people there would be able to pick me up, anyway? All of them had their own difficulties, this was very obvious.
Then the leaders of the encounter group invited me to a so-called dynamic meditation - dancing to music and shouting out loud. This will surely help me I thought, shouting out everything that's weighing on my soul.... Yet the grief and unrest remained.
Well and then my dad started drinking alcohol. The year before, he and my mom had celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary and planned their life and now, all of a sudden, my dad was a widower. I didn't know how to handle this. I was afraid he'd become an alcoholic. I wasn't living at home anymore. And it was always a weird feeling seeing my dad in my parent's apartment. Everything felt so empty and completely different to when my mom was still there. It was as if she'd be coming right back home from shopping. I even sensed her fragrance and wept again.
My sister, who was a little older than myself, had been married for three years already, she had her own life together with her husband and their little son. Who would look after my dad now when I was at work?
I couldn't talk with my sister about my feelings and fears, either. She was the same as helpless as I was. Fortunately, there was a married couple living close by, who were friends with my parents even before my mom's passing and so my dad was in good company.
Then I met a former classmate with who I had sung together in our school choir. He invited me to the rehearsal of another choir, where he was singing now. I accepted his invitation since I always loved singing.
There I got involved with songs about Jesus. I returned for the next rehearsals and a short while later, I became an official member of the choir. Yet no-one of the singers knew this Jesus we were all singing about. We sang all the gospel songs and spirituals in English but being Germans, English was not our mother tongue. Everyone had their own interpretation of the songs and gave them an individual meaning.
One evening, a lady sang a song that moved me a lot:
I had a mother, she's dead and gone
she left me here to weep and mourn
but on the other side of the river
there is joy and happiness
Suddenly, I had the impression as if someone would be by my side, holding my hand... Yet it was not unpleasant, it stirred me pleasantly. No-one of the choir noticed what had just happened to me. I was excited yet with questions, but I felt calm inside.
Three years later, the whole choir was invited to attend a gospel workshop in the US. Nobody of our choir knew Jesus but loved singing about Him. Yet in the US, as we were singing in English, everybody understood what we were singing - it was their own mother tongue!
And they reacted to the songs by singing along: Praise the Lord! Amen! Hallelujah! Yeah, Jesus is alive!
This triggered big discussions among the choir members after the concert. How can you say that Jesus is alive?! Who is this Jesus?
This happened in 1978. In the following year, two of our choir members went on vacation, each one to a different location. A male singer went to the US, a female singer went to Taizée in France. Yet when they returned, they both seemed to be kind of "connected" in a strange way.
And all of a sudden, we were challenged to face up to the contents of the songs we were singing. "Go read the Bible," things like that we were told now. From that moment on, the texts that we had only "sung" before, suddenly got a meaning. We were told that this Jesus we are singing about, can be experienced. "But how is that possible?" we asked, "He's dead for such a long time already... He is, isn't He???"
More and more questions began to arise within me to which I needed answers. Yet this one experience I had before with that other song... what about that?
In 1980, some members of our choir went to the US again. We were accomodated with different families of the church where our choir leader got saved the year before. I was put into a family who had three sons. Everyone was very nice to me. Now I saw first-hand, what a Christ-like life can be. They had family devotions and everybody showed a natural warmness. We shared our daily life with the church members and were integrated into their fellowship. We visited their church services, weddings, home groups and had rehearsals together with them.
I loved the singing there. The people had such wonderful voices and they taught us new songs. They lived their faith out which was very obvious.
One evening, they had another church service and I sat in the front row in order not to be distracted, I wanted to concentrate on everything. I then heard a sermon that really touched me, but one word burnt right into my heart:
"Jesus is coming soon. Are you ready? Today is the day of salvation!"
In that very moment I knew that God was speaking to me personally.
Then the pastor made an altar call. Whoever wanted to live with Jesus should come foreward. As I was sitting in the front row I only had a short way... yet a tremendous fight began inside of me.
I remained seated... but God saw my heart and heard how I was screaming out to Him in my heart. All of a sudden I "knew" that I am His child, that the Bible is His word and that I am forgiven.
Above I shared how I felt toward my deceased mom, that I was never able again to have a clarifying talk with her... Now this heavy load fell off of my shoulders!
I just knew I'd be living with God forever. The most wonderful thing to know was that the journey of the search for the meaning in my life was over. This tremendous unrest I so often felt before, was completely gone now, never to return.
I felt an enormous peace inside of me like I had never felt before and an overwhelming love. I felt like embracing the whole world and those sitting beside me got hugged!
The peace I felt is a peace that comes only by the One who says is the Prince of Peace - Jesus Christ!
And two weeks later I got baptized!