By Rune Bagou Hansen, Denmark
If God is so good…?
My name is Rune, and I’m a 38-year old family man who lives in Denmark. I grew up in a loving family that, like all families, had its good sides and lesser good ones. We weren’t brought up in the Christian faith per se, but we were very often introduced to it (such as through my grandparents, etc.).
One of my earliest memories is having walked around a duck pond at the age of about 3, and there asking my grandmother, a believer in Jesus: “if God is so good, why is everything that tastes so good bad for us, and everything that tastes so bad good for us?” A pretty good question for a three-year old, I think, and also a good picture of the kind of curiosity that would help to describe how I came to have many existential questions about life, and in time came to the right answer: “Jesus Christ.”
Teens and early twenties - panic anxiety hits, and schizophrenia follows
If we make a quick jump in time here, when I was quite a bit older than three, I started to develop some very bad habits, listening to the wrong music, watching the wrong movies, spending time w. people that drank alcohol and smoked hashish – which I also started doing. Being a sensitive soul, this eventually had its negative effects on me. Long story short, when I was in my mid-twenties and lived by myself, one day, I took the bus to meet a friend of a friend, who lived in a different city. We did consume alcohol that weekend (although I’m not sure what led to what), but on going home in the bus, I had a severe panic attack for the first time. It felt like I was losing my mind, even on the brink of dying, perhaps. My friend tried to calm me down, but when we got to our city, I went straight to my parent’s house, collapsing/ breaking down in my mother’s arms.
No more bad stuff!
From then on, I decided to live a healthy life. No more smoking, no more drinking, no more bad foods, and lastly, lots of exercise. My mind was shook from different experiences with panic anxiety, and I really did continue with my decision to live a healthy lifestyle, and became very studious about health. Soon after, however, the worst thing happened: I started practicing yoga (called hatha yoga). It was very spiritually focused, and having an open mind, I dove right in. I did all the different moves/ yoga positions while doing asanas (certain breathing exercises) and was very focused on the idea of chakras (seven chakras or “energy centers” that supposedly are in control of areas of your body, mind, life). I heard about a phenomenon called “kundalini awakening,” (here, you bring to life a spiritual force, that, like a coiled-up, dormant snake, arises on the inside of you, to bring some sort of spiritual enlightenment). I practiced this and experienced what I had heard about (but not what I was looking for – so demonic!). Within long, my personality starting to change, I almost couldn’t sleep, and it was as if though something had taken possession of a part of who I was. I was also interested in other pseudo-spiritual activities in this period. It ended up with a more than one-year long visit to the mental hospital, where I was diagnosed with schizophrenia.
God did different things in this time. Some born-again believers visited me in the hospital, which really did something, and where I experienced the presence of God. Another time, still in the hospital, I spontaneously experienced the presence of the love of God and broke down in tears. Lastly, while now staying with my parents, one Sunday morning, I woke up experiencing how I needed to go to a local church right away (where my grandfather had been a minister). I jumped on my bicycle and went there, which otherwise would only happen on Christmas eve. On arrival, everyone was praising God, and I joined in on the worship (first time like that). Right away, the presence of the Holy Spirit entered the room so strongly, and I forgot about everyone else. I heard God speak to my heart: “Rune, you are like a piece of glass to me. You can’t hide anything from me. And I don’t condemn you.” A great, heavy burden was lifted, joy came, and I felt KNOWN. I even went to the pulpit (in a very spontaneous way) and shared with everyone what I had experienced: I had met the Holy Spirit, I was sure, but even though I did not know Him, I knew this: He knows me!
A new life
This was the turning point for me, and I’ve been a believer since then. I asked forgiveness for my sin, have received the Holy Spirit, and was later baptized in Jesus’ name. Even though things have been tough at times, it cannot take away from the meaningfulness and purpose that entered my life by having the Maker of all things come into my life. Jesus said that He “knows His sheep by name,” and that He will never cast off anyone that comes to Him. I’ve seen first hand how God can pick up, restore, heal and re-define that which Has been broken – a work that He continues in us until the day that we will see Him face to face.
Psalm 139, verses 1-6 (NKJV):
By King David
O Lord, You have searched me and known me.
You know my sitting down and my rising up;
You understand my thought afar off.
You comprehend my path and my lying down,
And are acquainted with all my ways.
For there is not a word on my tongue,
But behold, O Lord, You know it altogether.
You have hedged me behind and before,
And laid Your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
It is high, I cannot attain it.
"You-Are-the-God-Who-Sees" (Hebrew: El Roi; found in Genesis 16:13)