By Mark Ellis —
Cristóbal Krusen was born and raised in Tampa, Florida, the third of four children. As a youngster he was drawn to the classics and decided he would become a writer.
At Harvard he studied English literature, wanting eventually to make his mark as a poet and novelist. But a deepening interest in photography and filmmaking caused him to transfer to NYU to study film.
In his mid twenties, living in New York, he began to feel a sense of emptiness and instigated “a conscious spiritual search.”
“I wondered if another dimension could exist beyond the physical, observable world,” Krusen recounts. “If so, what would it look like, what would it feel like? Did it even exist?”
He launched an exhaustive exploration of nearly every religion under the sun except one – Christianity. “The reason I dismissed Christianity is that I considered Christians hypocrites. I didn’t feel drawn to their churches,” he admits.
Krusen read the Quran, studied the Bahai faith, Christian Science, Edgar Cayce, the Bhagavad Gita, and Buddhism. He finally embraced Daoism because he felt it offered completeness, serenity, and invited him to “live in harmony with the world.”
In 1980 he went to Australia to do research for a screenplay adapted from a non-fiction short story. He was surprised to discover the main character in his film project, a Ukrainian migrant to Australia, had been a Christian.
Krusen had imagined his fascinating protagonist as a “holy man” – perhaps a Buddhist — but was dumbfounded to discover the man was a Christian.
To aid his research, Krusen found a King James Bible on display in the front window of a Christian Science reading room, purchased it, and went back to his motel room in Alice Springs to peruse it.
At first, he read the Psalms because he knew his character sang from the Psalms. “I was looking for lyrics for my script. I was even borrowing one verse from one psalm and one verse from another, taking liberties with the Bible.”
But the words in this book were not like the other religious books he studied. There was life and power in the Word that began to grab his heart.
Suddenly he felt like he had a stick of dynamite in his hands. “I came upon the Sermon on the Mount. That transfixed me. It melted my heart.”
Oh my goodness, this is Jesus! Krusen realized. “When I read the actual words of Jesus I was transported.”
While he had stumbled upon the truth, Krusen was slow to completely surrender. It took him another year to read the entire Bible. At the same time, he began to attend a church.
On a trip to Sweden in 1981 he felt adrift. “I didn’t know which end was up or what I should do with my life. All my waking hours were taken up with reading the Bible and thinking about Christ.”
Krusen recognized he had a stumbling block to faith. “I wanted to believe. I wanted to give my life to Christ. I went to a church where they explained what it meant.”
Still, he didn’t want to take the step to make Jesus his Savior and Lord if he had any remaining reservations in his heart or mind.
How could Jesus be the Son of Man and the Son of God at the same time? he wondered.
Why did Jesus say, ‘Before Abraham was, I am.’
Why did he say, ‘If you have seen me, you have seen the Father?’
“I got to the point where I was coming apart,” he recounts. His head swirling with ideas and conflicting emotions, he took a walk by himself along the Motala River in Norrköping, Sweden, and sat down on the riverbank, watching the waters rush by.
“I don’t know what else to do,” he cried out to God.
Then this verse unexpectedly entered his mind: “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:3)
Oh…I’m supposed to be like a child and just trust…
Suddenly he realized that God didn’t expect him to have all the answers, as if he was studying for a final exam. “I couldn’t answer all the questions. But I knew enough to know this was the answer, and it was the truth I had been searching for.
“All God was asking me to do is to take his hand like a child takes the hand of a grown-up and leave the rest to him.”
Krusen surrendered his life to Jesus as his Lord and Savior at that moment and was born
As Krusen began to grow in his faith, he was cautious about pursuing his filmmaking dream, and carefully re-examined his motives. But he eventually reentered the world of filmmaking.
Krusen has worked as a writer/director of film and television for 30 years, filming productions in more than 20 countries. He is best known for the films Final Solution, More Than Dreams, Undaunted and most recently, Sabina K.
He founded Messenger Films in 1988. He and his wife, Cheryl, live in St. Paul, Minnesota.
If you want to know more about a personal relationship with God, go here
The following is a poem written by Krusen about coming to faith:
In Norrköping, Sweden a river runs through town
Wide in places and calm
With elder trees and beech along the banks
Where a quiet spot I find one morning
To sit awhile
To ease my troubled mind
To reflect on what is weighing me down
Behind me rises a stately concert hall
Where Liz auditions, dancing ballet
It’s mid-October, unseasonably warm
No breeze blowing as fishermen across the way
Call to one another in soft, garbled tongue
Speaking a language I cannot understand
For many months, almost a year, I’ve been reading God’s Book
And one thought more than any other keeps coming to mind –
Who was Jesus? Was he just a man?
Or was he divine?
I’ve been poring over his testament
Rolling the pages in reverence
Mind running, stopping at the brink
Do you know? Tell me if you do
Did he rise from the dead?
Did he even live?
And if he lived, what difference does it make?
The miracles, the sainted words…
Were they invented or true?
Jesus was the best of all, I have come to conclude
The closest to the truth my investigation showed
Turn the other cheek
Give to the poor
Blessed are the peacemakers
Blessed are the meek
Love your enemies
The sinner forgive
No thought for tomorrow
In righteousness live
I could go on, of course,
But so could you
And what does any of this have to do
With where I sat that day in Norrköping
Under the elder trees and beech?
My intellect had brought me thus far
But like a man who tries to swim from California to Hawaii
I’d come up short
Disappearing some fifteen miles offshore
And now I ask in all sincerity
Is there a point in wondering who God is
Or if a man can reach him somehow
Or even a part of him understand?
Is it madness to think there’s a way?
O, let me hang my harp on the limbs of these trees
Let me die in this foreign land far from home
There’s no way back
No way for me
If I had lived in the Lord’s time and country
If I had touched his cloak as he walked by
If I had been a blind beggar healed by his touch
Or his word
But here I am
Trapped centuries on
With nothing much to go on but a paperback New Testament
Printed in the USA
Passages I’ve now read over and over again
Here I sit under the table with foreigners and dogs
Jostling for space
Hoping for crumbs to fall my way
Or his dusty feet to come near enough
For me to seize and kiss
But no food falls
No wine spills through the cracks
No dust softens the air
No shouting is heard to mark his passing
All I can do is sit and cry
Then something seems to come to mind
That verse where he said
Truly I say to you, unless you change and become like little children, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven
I say it aloud and sing after that
A Sunday School song from many years back
Jesus loves the little children
All the children of the world
Red and yellow, black and white
They are precious in his sight
Jesus loves the little children of the world
Weeping hard, I ask
The closest to God – so these verses say –
What is their exalted way?
I know the answer, of course
I’ve known it for awhile
Released I am by the children’s song
I’m yours, Lord,
Yours for life
Spoken as a child might
Time passes, I don’t know how much
I get up and go to the concert hall in search of Liz
I find her pacing in the main lobby
Nervous and seeking reassurance
Which I gladly give
Even if I don’t know what to say
They turned me down she confides
I look away
I take her hand and gently say
It’s time to go to Ulricehamn
Pastor Olle and Karin to meet
We had been traveling through Europe for a month by then
Staying in most places a few days at a time
Meeting new people and making friends
“Serving peace” as the exchange program said
Our journey had started in London
From there to Scotland, Wales, France
A week in Denmark
Now down to Ulricehamn
Where Olle and Karin lived
I fall sick on the train
Vomiting some strange bile
My stomach in knots
The devil’s at play
Pastor Olle meets us at the station
Eyes wide-set and gray,
Solemn and serene
He takes us home
His wife, Karin, greets us at the door
She calls Liz her daughter
And kisses her on both cheeks
You are so black and beautiful! she exclaims
Then she gives me medicine and puts me to bed
Speaking in Swedish as I lie quiet and still
Rain dripping along the pane
Night coming, bringing sleep
O, these foreigners of soft tongue and blue eyes
Opening their home to me and my wife
May my right hand forget its cunning should I forget their mercy
O God, hear me when I say
May my right hand forget its cunning should I forget their mercy
When I get better and can handle more
Olle gathers us in his book-lined study to read from the Bible
After that he prays and a silence fills the room
Something is cut loose in me
And I pray, too
Not many days later,
Liz and I resume our trip
Olle and Karin taking us to the station
Waiting with us for the train to appear
And I can’t help thinking –
Everything looks so fresh
Alive in a way I’ve not seen before
Geese rise from a pond nearby
Honking encouragement as they fly
White clouds a mystery
Lit by a sun I cannot see
A breeze blowing, light and cool
Yellow grass tall like grain
And I say to myself –
I’ve been born again
In the distance comes the train
I close my eyes as Olle prays
His words falling like early rain
Doubts and questions swept away
In Ulricehamn under pastor’s wing
Down the track from Norrköping
Copyright © 2017 Cristóbal Krusen