Encounter: Carolyn Rust

Encountering Jesus’ desire

to Save me Personally

Matthew 8:14-17, Mark 1:29-34, Luke 4:38-41

By Carolyn Rust

Like many of you I first accepted Jesus as my savior at Vacation Bible School. Nothing big or dramatic. However, in the summer of 2011, I saw my Lord in a much more personal way.

In 2010-2011, my faith was continually being bombarded with alternative points of view and beliefs through my husband’s constant scrolling of the internet. As he dug into these obscure and extreme perspectives, I found myself going to the Bible more just to have a grounding to understand what he was talking about. As my husband became more enthralled in these beliefs, he actively tried to destroy my faith in the accuracy of Scripture and ultimately in Jesus.  

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In August 2011, these private battles became much more public as my husband had a full psychotic break. At the time, I did not realize the mental health problems he was battling and believed his psychosis was the result of heavy marijuana use. But in a single week, I visited every hospital in the Eugene-Springfield area at least once trying to get help as my husband stopped sleeping, became increasingly paranoid and destructive, and started hurting himself. I felt completely abandoned by God and very, very alone.

That Sunday I sat in church so drained that tears started falling during the opening music. My pastor was preaching through Philippians and had hit chapter 4 — “Rejoice in the Lord always…” NOT a passage I wanted to hear that morning. After service I had one question for my pastor — How? How with everything in shambles was I to rejoice? He saw my tears and listened to my grief and did not offer platitudes or empty promises. Instead, he committed the church resources to help me fix the van my husband had damaged. Then he prayed with me. The private battle was no longer private. Some people actively reached out to check on me and my kids. Others were more subtle in their encouragement.

The Lord kept that word “Rejoice” rattling around in my head enough that I started a word study, looking up all of the occurrences in my chain reference Bible. It re-awakened the desire to be part of a group studying the Word, so I found myself participating in the women’s Bible study of Acts that fall. Seeing Jesus move in the events and years of Acts was amazing. The pain and persecution worked to spread the gospel further and drive it deeper into the hearts of the people being touched. And it had a similar effect on me.

Jesus continues to woo me and draw me to Himself. I look forward to thorough studies of His Word. I am challenged to put in more work on the studies than the questions often warrant. Through the trials of the ensuing years, I have seen Jesus as my savior, protector, and provider. I have watched Him be a father to my children by bringing resources to meet their needs. Even now He continues to comfort me and woo me as a husband does the bride he loves.

All of this ties to a verse I had chosen as MY verse when I was in high school from I Peter 1:8-9: “And though you do not see Him you love Him, and though you do not see Him now you greatly rejoice with a joy inexpressible and full of glory receiving as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your soul.”

Carolyn Rust is a mother of two amazing young adults, an accountant for a furniture manufacturer, and a child of God. She loves knitting and cooking. She is learning to dig into the Word more and is finding that more and more fascinating.