December 8, 2010

The Love of God

EMPTINESS FILLED MY HEART. AT THE AGE OF 21 I WAS TIRED OF SEARCHING for something to fill the spiritual hole in my heart. All the love my husband and family gave me throughout the years was never enough.

In the summer of 1991 I was living in Antioch, California, with my husband of two years. Neither of us was a Christian, nor did we attend church. The emptiness in my heart and soul at that time was so great that I became overwhelmed by it. One day I resolved that if this was life, I didn’t want to live, and I calmly and rationally decided to end it all. How can I be around people yet feel so lonely and empty all the time? I thought to myself.

The following morning I knew this would be the day. My husband left for work, and I was alone in the house. I went into the kitchen and grabbed a knife. Fortunately, I chickened out before I actually hurt myself. It would be too painful, I decided. I then found a full bottle of painkillers, poured a glass of water, and stood there with the tablets in one hand and the glass of water in the other. At that moment I was surprised by a loud knock at the door.

I wasn’t expecting anyone, but I dumped the painkillers onto the kitchen counter, set my glass of water next to them, and answered the door. There stood a young man maybe 18 or 19 years old.

2010 1539 page31“I’m doing a neighborhood survey,” he said. “Could I ask you a few questions?”

I’ll never forget the look of kindness on his face as he talked to me.

“Sure,” I said, and stepped barefoot onto the front porch. He handed me a clipboard with a survey of about eight yes-or-no questions on it. As I neared the end of the survey, the last question asked was “Would you be interested in Bible studies?”

I thought about it for a moment, then quickly checked “yes” and handed the clipboard back to him. He glanced down at it and asked, “May I pray for you?”

“OK,” I said.

I don’t remember what he said during his prayer, but I do remember that he handed me a simple little leaflet with a picture of Jesus on the front along with the words “The Love of God.” I went inside and started reading through it. I read it twice. I laid it down on the counter beside the painkillers and the glass of water and made myself something to eat—thinking the whole time about that picture of Jesus and the words inside: “God loves you so much that He died for you.”

The words “He loves you” kept rehearsing themselves in my head. As I finished eating I picked up the leaflet once more and read it again. Then I reached over and put all the tablets back into the bottle and poured out the glass of water.

I now felt differently; I didn’t want to die. I wanted God’s love desperately. I prayed, “Please God, please help me; please love me.”

I held the leaflet close to me, and a peace filled my heart. During the next two weeks I read it many times. About two weeks later I received an invitation in the mail to attend some Bible studies at the nearby Seventh-day Adventist church. I eventually gave my life to Jesus Christ and was baptized. My Savior filled my empty heart to overflowing with love. The hole in my heart has been healed.

I’ll never forget that young man whom God used to save my life on that dark day. I pray that someday I’ll have the opportunity to meet him again to thank him for being a willing servant and messenger of hope for God.

Dena Rucker writes from Pollock Pines, California. This article was published on December 9, 2010.