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Karlen Ruleman '09


Year: 2009
Residence: Baker
Major: 2
I’ve heard it said that the thing you pour your time, your effort, your money, your life into—that is your god. At MIT time is geared toward learning, of course, but life is so much more than p-sets and parties.

When I was six years old, I heard my pastor speaking about eternity. I thought about where my life was headed and what would happen if I died. The things he said were simple: Jesus has already defeated everything you are struggling against; put him in charge of your life and he will guide you and take you to Heaven with him when you die. (Strange that I remember this as a little girl, but some things you just hang on to.) I decided to put God in charge of my life, and I said a prayer. Nothing happened. No fireworks or anything. The next week I prayed the same prayer and I tried to be more sincere, to have more faith. This went on for a while, until my pastor explained that it is not the strength of your faith that saves you, but the power of the object of your faith. Which is great, because I tend to mess up.

“He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.” Titus 3:5

“That if you confess with your mouth ‘Jesus is Lord’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Romans 10:9


I would like to say that my life has been one easy ride since then, that being a Christian solves all your problems, but I can’t. Rather, God has placed difficulties in my life in order to reveal Himself to me and to make me more like Him. I’m not perfect by far, but I know a God who is.

My freshman year of high school, I was diagnosed with kidney problems. The necessary surgery was scheduled as soon as possible. My mind was flooded with unexpected thoughts. I didn’t know what was going to happen, but instead of fearing the worst, I realized how close God really is. The fears I had had as a child had been wiped away, not with time, but with the constant presence of God’s love in my life. He showed me, as He has many times before and since then, that He is worthy of all my trust. 

When my friends disappointed me (or when I failed them), I cried out to God. When my world was falling apart, I knew there was someone who saw every tear and felt all my heartache. Even during my most painful and despairing moments in life, Jesus was/is/will be there still. 

The struggle, I find, is not in the hard times but the mundane ones. It’s not about keeping rules or listening to sermons. It’s about keeping my focus, every day, on the One who knows everything about me but loves me anyway. The same power that rescues me from an eternity separated from the glory of God gives me the strength to conquer each day. Instead of falling out of control, I’ve let go of the details.

Now that I’m @mit.edu, God is reminding me that he wants 100% of my life. I know it’s crazy, but the more of it I give him, the more life I get back.

“I have come that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” John 10:10

When I get where I'm going, where will I be?
If I reach my goals, what will I have?
Is what I’m living for, worth Him dying for?
- Dr. Adrian Rogers (my hero, and the pastor in my story)

Think about it.