Life was Good, but then Everything Started Falling Apart.
I’d like to tell you that what you’re about to read is really important and is going to impact your life. The truth is, I’m probably not going to tell you anything you haven’t heard before, but let me encourage you to read it anyway.
Raised in a Christian Home
I was raised on a dairy farm in the Fraser Valley (British Columbia, Canada) along with five sisters and one brother. It was a beautiful, quiet place. As a preschooler, I often took our dog along the creek to fish over the hill at the back of our property. My parents always taught me about God and his Son Jesus, so as I walked, I would often think about God. Was He bigger than my dad? How long was forever – longer than a Sunday morning service?
I also did all the things that children do in a Christian home: Sunday school, choir practice, young people’s groups, and so forth. I did them all without complaining – until I was 15. It was Sunday morning and Dad and I had just finished chores. I was slow coming in from the barn and Dad told me to hurry up because I was going to be late for church. It was that morning that I told him I wouldn’t be going to church anymore. My dad was a big guy – very strong and with a fuse so short it couldn’t be measured – so, I was expecting the worst. Instead, he looked at me with the most hurtful look on his face. I had to leave the room. I just couldn’t look at him.
My Heart Was Hardened
Something happened to me that day. I started to get hard inside. Before long, I was drinking on weekends and dropped out of school. By the time I was seventeen, my behavior was such that Mom and Dad asked me to leave home. There is a lot of security in an orderly Christian home and when I was on my own, I was lost. I continued to drink heavily, and many nights I slept in my car in some gravel pit or behind somebody’s barn, because I was too drunk to drive home. I couldn’t find a job good enough to support myself, so, out of desperation, I joined the army.
After six months of basic training, I was posted to Germany. When you’re in your late teens or early twenties and you’re living in a place where anything goes, that’s how you live. Cheap booze and lots of pretty girls became my lifestyle. After three years, I came home. The first thing I did was visit my Dad, who happened to be clearing land with his bulldozer. When he saw me, he shut off the machine and came over. It was a long time before he could speak; he was so glad to see me.
However, it didn’t take long before my life was right back where it had been before I left. About a year later, I met a gal whose father was also a heavy drinker, so my behavior didn’t surprise her. We were soon married and eventually had two daughters.
One of the things my Dad taught me was how to work hard. I started my first business when I was in my mid-twenties, and it went quite well. A few years later, I bought a large poultry farm, which also did well. Even with this success, though, my drinking was always a problem. It affected my marriage and family so much that I knew I had to do something. So I went to my first Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meeting. To my disappointment, all I heard that evening was these guys talking about God. What a disappointment. I thought they were actually going to teach me something about how to quit drinking.
A Brief Attempt at Change
Even so, I made up my mind I was not going to drink anymore and I actually started taking my kids to church. I got so religious I think even God couldn’t stand me! But two years later, I began drinking again.
I don’t know why, but the evening I started drinking, I stopped in to see my Dad, who was widowed by now (Mom had passed away ten years earlier). I told him I couldn’t keep up this lifestyle anymore and I was going back to drinking. Again, Dad had the wisdom not to say much, although I could tell he was very sad. He was a reactionary, so for him not to react to the things I was doing was a gift from God.
When I was in my mid-thirties, I had the chance to sell both of my businesses, so I did. By then I had built up enough equity that if I were wise with my money, I wouldn’t have to work any more. So I bought the big house on the hill. I had everything that was supposed to make me happy, but was the most miserable I had ever been.
One Sunday morning I was in bed sick and hung over. For the first time in years I prayed: “God, I have everything I want, and I’m still unhappy. There has to be more to life than this. I ask that you do whatever it takes to get me right with you. If you have to take all of this away, then do it.”
I’m here to tell you – God answers prayer!
Everything Fell Apart
Not long after I prayed that prayer, I sold our big house on the hill and bought a large acreage, where I built a new house. It was just about that time that things started to come apart. Our marriage was a mess, and my finances were going down the drain. Even though lots of good deals came my way, I couldn’t seem to keep any of the money I made. Things got to the point, that for the first time in many years, I had to go to work for someone as an employee. That was very hard on my pride. I took a job as a heavy equipment operator in a road building camp. It was very much like the army: the tougher and cruder you were, the more respect you got from the other men. Let’s just say I had a lot of respect.
When I was home, I would stop in to see my Dad. He was always glad to see me, and I always knew he cared about me. I also knew he loved the Lord and that he had something I thought I would never have. You see, by this time I thought I was doomed to hell and there wasn’t anything I could do about it. One Sunday afternoon, I visited Dad prior to him going for some exploratory surgery. After our visit, I headed back to camp.
That Wednesday, I got a call telling me Dad had passed away. By this time I was so hard, I told my wife I wouldn’t be coming home. I didn’t want to see her or my Christian brothers and sisters. I knew going home wouldn’t bring back the one person I knew who loved me. But once again, God intervened.
Without my knowing, Dad had changed his will two days before he passed away, naming me executor of his estate. My sister Katherine had her son-in-law drive her out to the camp to tell me. In spite of how dirty I was, she gave me a big hug, and I nearly cried. And so, I had to go home.
My Father’s Legacy
It took me a week to take care of Dad’s business. When everything was completed, there were only two things left: his bedside Bible and a book by Hal Lindsey called The Late Great Planet Earth. I threw both of them in my bag, went on a two-day drunk, and then headed back to camp.
Over the next two weeks, I started to read some of the verses Dad had underlined in his Bible, more out of curiosity than anything. I also began to read Hal Lindsey’s book. I remember reading a particular passage where it said that when Jesus died on the cross, He died for all of my sins: past, present, and future. I stopped. I had never heard that before. It must be a misprint, I thought. I must have read it five or six times before the lights came on and I realized that Christianity had everything to do with Christ dying for me and very little to do with Frank being good enough.
Talk about excited! I got down on my knees and accepted Christ’s forgiveness for my past sins and asked him to be my Savior now and in the future. For the first time in my life I felt free. I got up off my knees and was jumping up and down on my bed yelling, I’m free! I’m free!
That was ten years ago. I’d like to tell you that since that time everything has been great. The truth is, my marriage still came apart, my kids still had to go through our divorce and I still lost all of my money. But for the first time I could turn to God and have peace through all of it.
I also faced the fact that I was an alcoholic. Through AA, I was able to clean up the wreckage of my past and become free to get on with the rest of my life. Nearly a year later, I met my childhood sweetheart, June, who had also given her life to Christ. We were married not long afterwards and God has continued to do great things in my life. My kids have learned to trust me again and I have two stepchildren that love me and four grandchildren who love to see me. Each one of our children and their spouse has made a commitment to Christ.
One-and-a-half years ago, I prayed that God would give us opportunities to share what He has done for us. A month later, June and I found ourselves in the Amazon with a JESUS film project, where we saw hundreds of people come to know Jesus for the first time.Then, last October, my brother Don and I traveled to the Ukraine with Campus Crusade for Christ. We got to see the house where Dad and his family lived. We also shared Christ with many people including those living on a military base. Again, hundreds of people heard and responded to the good news of Jesus for the first time.
A Fatal Diagnosis
Before I left for the Ukraine, June and I knew there was something wrong with me physically. I had been very fatigued and was stumbling and tripping a lot. I went to see a specialist, and on December 16, 1994, I was diagnosed with ALS, more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. People with ALS have a life expectancy of between two to five years after symptoms appear. I’ve probably had this for one-and-a-half years already, so I don’t know how much time I have left. I asked God to remove the fear of death, and he has done that. I also asked Him to make my life count for whatever time I have left.
Shortly after my diagnosis, a friend of mine at work died of cancer. He was a Christian, and he asked me to do his funeral service. I had the opportunity to share my faith with about 150 people, a number of them non-churched construction workers. I don’t know if any one of their lives were changed as a result of my story. My job is simply to share what God has done in my life and let Him use me where He can. When you know you haven’t got long to live, the fear of man is gone, because you have nothing to prove. But you’re all in my shoes, really, because whether we have a terminal illness or not, each day, we’re all one step closer to meeting Jesus than we were yesterday.
What Will it be Like?
I sometimes wonder what it will be like to be all alone with Jesus – to sit beside a quiet stream in the mountains and ask Him all the questions I have; to stand and look into the face of the One who died for me and tell Him how much I love Him. Isn’t it great that He isn’t some al being but rather a real and living God we all get to spend eternity with? Can you imagine touching the Christ who died on the cross and rose again? To never wonder again: Was that God talking or was it just me?
I know there have been very few changes in my life that Frank has made. Everything that has changed in my life has come about when I’ve surrendered to God by the power of His Holy Spirit. He has made the changes, and He’s still doing it. I’m so thankful for a Christian Mom and Dad that never gave up on me. When I want to judge my own children, I’m often reminded of my Dad and how he loved me unconditionally. The Bible says,
“If you who are evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him?” (Matthew 7:11, emphasis mine).
Where this journey leads me is truly in the hands of God. I just ask for His mercy and grace to accept all He has for me.
You Can Have it Too!
If you’re reading this and have yet to invite Jesus to be your Savior, there will never be a better day than today. It’s just as easy and as free as it was for me back in that road camp. There’s no magic in any particular words, but if God is speaking to you, don’t wait. Don’t harden your heart one more time.
If there’s unforgiveness in your heart, deal with it. Don’t wait. You can walk in freedom and it’s wonderful. Ask God to show you if there’s anything you need to deal with and then ask Him for the courage to deal with it. He’ll give it to you. He is always faithful.
by Frank Krause
What about you? Are you wondering what life is all about? Do you, like Frank, feel that something is missing in your life? If so, you can find fulfilment and peace through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
The Bible says (Jesus is speaking),
“Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him” (Revelation 3.20).
Receiving Christ involves turning to God from self (repentance) and trusting Christ to come into our lives to forgive us of our sins and to make us what He wants us to be. Just to agree intellectually that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that He died on the cross for our sins is not enough. Nor is it enough to have an emotional experience. We receive Jesus Christ by faith, as an act of our will.
You can receive Christ right now by faith through prayer. Praying is simply talking to God. God knows your heart and is not so concerned with your words as He is with the attitude of your heart. Here’s a suggested prayer:
Lord Jesus, I want to know You personally. Thank You for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life to You and ask You to come in as my Savior and Lord. Take control of my life. Thank You for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Make me the kind of person You want me to be.
After four and a half years of having Lou Gherig’s disease, Frank Krause passed away peacefully in the early hours of December 23, 1998.
Frank’s wife June also wrote about her experience in facing ALS and about being Frank’s caregiver.
June’s story (Frank’s wife) Living with ALS
Getting Life Back on Track by Marvin Kehler
Pressing the Reset Button. (reset your life)