Praying and Waiting
By Gerald Klingbeil
“I want to become a professional musician,” my drummer friend Georg told me matter-of-factly as we contemplated the future in our last year in gymnasium (the German equivalent of high school). There was no hesitation—Georg definitely had a plan. Alejandro, another close friend, wanted to study philosophy and literature at the University of Freiburg. Others had already mapped out their career paths in business or information technology. I wasn’t sure.
Two and half years earlier I had been baptized and joined the Seventh-day Adventist Church. I had grown up inside the church community and had never run away— but this decision on a Sabbath afternoon in January of 1981 had been special. I consciously wanted to give my life to God. This was not just my parent’s faith—it had become my faith, too. Now, as the only Adventist in my class (in fact, there were only two committed Christians in our entire grade), I had to often maneuver moments challenging my faith. While fully integrated in my school and extracurricular activities—I knew I was different.
Following my baptism, I spent three weeks during the summer vacation participating in a mission youth camp. For three weeks we studied the Bible in new and engaging ways. We wrote music and lyrics and practiced for a series of concerts for the final week. Every day we visited with people on the crowded pedestrian zone of Lindau, a town on the shores of Lake Constance. Music, pantomimes, and pamphlets—we found many avenues to people. We prayed together and marveled at God’s often-immediate answers. There was a feeling of Acts in those three weeks. This experience changed my walk with Jesus. Following that summer, my brother and I invited others to begin a music ministry that lasted for nearly 10 years and touched thousands of non-churched people.
Three years later I was finishing my Abitur. What would I do with the rest of my life? Should I serve my Savior full- time? I felt torn. I loved music and thought of music therapy. I was interested in service and contemplated medicine. Both my grandfathers, as well as my father, had been Adventist ministers. I knew the life of a PK (pastor’s kid) but was not sure if I wanted to take over the family “business” of pastoring. My mother, a staunch supporter of my involvement in ministry, counseled against pastoral ministry: “Life in ministry is tough,” she told me. “It will eat you up.”
Since our summer mission camp, the youth department director of our conference, Werner Renz, had become a close friend and mentor and a strong influence in my life. As I shared my big question about God’s plan for my life and the intersection of ministry, he made an important suggestion: “Gerald, I know that God is interested in your future. He knows about these questions. Why don’t we pray together every day that God will show you the right way? His arm is not too short.” That prayer covenant began over two years of waiting—and praying.
In 1984 Germany still required an obligatory military service of all able-bodied young men, involving 15 months of basic training and service. Most Christians, including Adventists, opted to be recognized as conscientious objectors. This meant an 18-month stint serving in a civil capacity in different contexts. However, those studying theology were exempted from this requirement. Since I wasn’t sure about God’s call for my life and did not want to study for the ministry just to avoid civil service, I began my stint in the real world two months after my high school graduation. I opted to work as a nurse’s aid in a hospital close to home. After years of classroom learning I suddenly found myself in the real world with shifts, tiring (and at times, draining) work, all kinds of colleagues, and the daily brush with death.
I was still very engaged in our local church and in our music ministry—yet I was waiting. Every time I saw Werner he looked at me questioningly. I always shrugged my shoulders: no answer yet. It seemed that God took His time, helping me to develop spiritual endurance. This was not a 100-meter dash—this was a marathon. We kept on praying—and waited.
[Part two of this testimony will be concluded next week as Gerald shares how God led in his life and answered his prayers.]
Gerald A. Klingbeil still enjoys climbing mountains and loves listening to God’s voice. He currently serves as an associate editor of Adventist World and lives with his wife, Chantal, and their three daughters in Silver Spring, Maryland, U.S.A. This testimony was originally published in the July 2013 edition of Adventist World, and is reprinted with permission.
World Church Prayer Requests
November 3 - 10, 2019
• PRAYER REQUEST: Please pray for Church divisions around the world as they begin their own year-end meetings! Pray for God to lead and for the Holy Spirit to be present.
• PRAYER REQUEST: Pray for health and strength for our church leaders, and for traveling mercies. Please pray the same for your local pastor and leadership.
• PRAYER REQUEST: Pray for those that are struggling with loss and heartache right now. Many have lost loved ones recently due to sickness or accidents. Pray for comfort and peace.
• PRAYER REQUEST: Please pray for the “Your Best Pathway to Health” clinic that is scheduled for April 8-10, in Indianapolis, Indiana, in advance of the General Conference Session. Pray for all the details to come together, and that this will be a witness to the people of Indianapolis. (To learn more visit: https://pathwaytohealthvolunteer.org)
• PRAYER REQUEST: Please pray for the upcoming General Conference Session that will take place in Indianapolis, Indiana, June-July 2020. Even now there are yet many details and logistics to work out. Pray for God’s perfect leading, and that this session will not only be life changing for the delegates and attendees, but for thousands throughout the Indianapolis area.