Finding a God of Beauty
To Sabbath School teachers: This story is for Sabbath, April 8.
s a young girl, Violeta was scared of God.
Christianity was forbidden in then-communist Romania, and no one spoke with Violeta about God except her grandmother. Grandmother had nothing pleasant to say about God.
“If you make a mistake, God will punish you,” Grandmother said.
Violeta understood that God is all-powerful and knows everything and punishes every mistake that people make.
But Grandmother’s image of God clashed with the beauty of nature that Violeta observed as she grew up. In the spring, she saw budding trees with growing leaves and, later, delicious fruit. She saw how the leaves fell in the autumn and the branches remained empty all winter before returning to life in the spring. She realized that Someone must take care of the trees.
The songs of the birds also impressed her. She thought that Someone must have taught each bird to sing a distinct tune.
She noticed differences between humans and animals, that humans could reason and animals could not. The capacity to reason must have come from Someone who created humans to be different from animals, she thought. She decided that He must be a good Creator. But then she wondered if it might be possible that the God who made nature was different from the God whom she knew.
As an adult, Violeta went to church because she thought God would punish her otherwise. She didn’t enjoy her time there. She lit candles and kissed idols. She worshipped in fear, and she realized that everyone around her also worshipped because of fear. She didn’t find any joy in the rituals, but she couldn’t stop. She kept hearing Grandmother’s warning, “If you make a mistake, God will punish you.”
When she was in her early 30s, Violeta had a car accident. That day, for the first time, she did not wear a seatbelt. As the car rolled over, she thought that she would die. She cried out, “God, help me!”
The car was totaled, but she crawled out without a scratch. She was shocked. Everyone who saw the wreck was shocked. The car roof was crumpled into the seat where she had been sitting. But the force of the crash had thrown her into the passenger’s seat. If she had worn her seatbelt, she certainly would have died.
As she looked at the wreck, a woman walked over. “God loves you so much,” the woman said. “Don’t delay. Seek and find Him.”
Violeta listened in disbelief. She realized that the woman was talking about another God, not the angry God whom she knew.
She began seeking God by visiting various churches. She got her own Bible. She wanted to know Jesus.
One summer, while at the Black Sea for vacation, she noticed a woman selling books from a table on the beach. She saw a set of five books about Jesus on sale and asked to buy them.
“Have you ever read anything by Ellen White?” the seller asked.
Violeta acknowledged that she had not. The seller seemed to be impressed that she was willing to buy all five books of the Conflict of the Ages series without knowing anything about Ellen White.
“Can I call you later?” she asked.
At home, Violeta immediately read The Desire of Ages. She wanted to know more about Jesus.
After a short time, the seller, Yulia, called and invited Violeta to worship at the Seventh-day Adventist church. Violeta was impressed with Yulia and the church. They worshiped a God of beauty and love, a God who matched the image that she had of the God who created nature and humanity.
Violeta gave her heart to the God of beauty and love, the God of the Bible, and joined the Adventist Church.
Today, she gives Bible studies, teaching others about the God of beauty and love whom she has found in the Bible.
“God is the Creator, the Almighty, but He loves us,” she says. “This is the God whom I hoped to find when I was a child. I strongly believe that God is love.”
Education, including Bible studies, are an important part of the way that Adventists share the good news about the beautiful and loving Creator God in Romania. Part of your Thirteenth Sabbath Offering that will help expand Adventist education by opening a school and an after-school center in Romania.