A Woman Alone On A Bench

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. -John [3:16]

Today, we continue with our four-part series called, Jesus is everything. Our story today is about a young woman from Panama, who considered ending her life.  At the darkest moment of her life, she found God’s and her friend’s love.

Karina sat alone on a bench on the campus of Panama National University. Her eyes were covered with sunglasses hiding her red and swollen eyes. The pressure of her life and sense of abandonment had finally overwhelmed her ability to cope. She sat there with suicidal thoughts, she no longer thought anyone cared. At this moment she felt utterly alone.

Karina had been adopted by a couple who couldn’t have children. Soon after her adopted parents started a restaurant, which quickly became so busy they had little time for her. They hired a nanny and for many hours of the day and night, the nanny was the only person Karina saw. Over time her nanny became her surrogate mother. As her parent’s business continued to grow, Karina’s sense of abandonment grew.

When she first entered college, life got much harder. Both of her adopted parents became chronically ill. Making her the head of a household almost overnight. A life that was already hard, became harder. It was too much for her to handle alone.

In her earlier years she wrestled with; why does everyone abandon me? She wondered why her birth parents gave her up and why her adopted parents spent little time with her. The added pressure of being in college and the head of a dysfunctional household brought her to the point of sitting alone on a quiet bench. Even though she was surrounded by people, she sat feeling entirely alone. A desperate person, who had lost the ability to lift her head up and smile.

Two of her friends came by the bench Karina where she was sitting, Daniela and Zoar, and noticed her grief. Then without thinking,  all of Karina’s poisonous thoughts poured out. All that she had been holding in for many years, came out through tears. Her emotional dam had broken and all she could do was spin in her mind over and over, why me.

Her friends listened and consoled. Holding her hands they quoted John [3:16];  For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. They told her about the four spiritual laws, one of which says; We must individually receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord; then we can know and experience God’s love and plan for our lives.

And there it was, a desperate young woman looking for a way out of the hole of discouragement, had a plan. Because of her bareness, the verse and her friends created an overwhelming desire in her to seek to know more. Over the next few months, she absorbed all she could about Jesus and the Bible. Instead of looking at why me, she focused on how to find meaning through Jesus.

Karina, turned her tears to hope. Relief set in, because she was finding answers. She knew Jesus had heard her crying out. She was no longer alone. Things quickly changed in her life, not because her situation changed, but because she knew she was loved, by her friends and Jesus.

This is a familiar story about how crisis puts us at a crossroad in life. A place where we can choose which path to take. We can choose the path of why I or the path of hope. This crisis for a search for meaning and a sense of being loved is common. Most of us will or have experienced the same thoughts as Karina. If not, we are either very lucky and well-adjusted or overdue.

We can pour through the thousands of self-help books that show up on Amazon or in book stores. While helpful, not always on the mark. For Karina, it was her entry into the New Testament that lifted her out of her dungeon of despair. For others, it is the resistance of the pursuit of Jesus. An intellectual exercise in trying to rationalize if Jesus is real. C.S. Lewis rationalized for many years, before finally relenting in a dark corner of a library, describing himself as; the most reluctant and desperate of all converts. Each encounter of faith is very similar, a change is needed. While the individual’s journey to the crossroad of crisis is always unique.

At this crossroads, where most will stand at some point, a choice has to be made. Sometimes, so desperate, no other path exists, but the path to Jesus. Other times a desperate prayer had been answered and recognized as so personal, it must be Jesus. Still, other times, the long-awaited encounter with Jesus which has been long ignored, reappears at a time of utter hopelessness.

For Karina, it took friends to show her the path. In her reflection back to that very dark moment, she says; The Lord heard my cry. I’m not alone, and He loves me because He sent His only Son to pay for my sins. He dried my tears, and He continues picking me up when I fall. She had found Jesus and Jesus became her everything.

Life didn’t get easier for Karina after her crisis has passed. What got easier was her ability to cope. Driven by the knowledge that she did have friends that loved her and Jesus had heard her cry. She still had two very ill parents, school to complete, and a business to watch. In this painful journey, she learned she wasn’t abandoned. She found Jesus and she gave Him her life.

Blessings, until next time,
Bruce L. Hartman

Photo by Sage Friedman on Unsplash