Susan Punt’s story is one filled with God’s redemptive love, unending grace, and victorious mercy. She grew up in a wonderful home with parents who loved and cared for her. They did all the right things and thought they had everything. Yet, her family had no idea they needed a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.
When Susan was a senior in high school, she encountered a group of Gideons handing out Scriptures outside of her school. She took her Testament home and placed it in a dresser drawer. At the time, she had never read the Bible and knew very little about the things of God.
A New Approach to Life
Months later, a girl at her school asked her a simple question: “Do you know for sure you’re going to heaven?” Taken back, she replied, “Well, I’m 99% sure I’m going to heaven.” She thought to herself: Why wouldn’t I go to heaven? I love my parents. I go to church. I can’t think of anything I’ve done to prevent me from getting into heaven. That night, she went home and thought about the conversation. She knew exactly how to prove she was going to heaven — by reading the Testament given to her by The Gideons.
She took out the Testament, and by the power of the Holy Spirit, started in the Gospel of John. No one ever shared with her the concepts of repenting of your sins or accepting Jesus into your heart, but as she read the Gospel of John, she was moved to tears. By the power of Scripture, she knew Jesus died on the cross for her. At that moment, she accepted Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior.
She remembers going downstairs and proclaiming she was a sinner for whom Jesus had died, and her parents sweetly rejected her words saying, “Susan, you’re not a sinner.” She was conflicted but held fast to the truth of God’s Word. From that moment on, she could not get enough of the Bible. She went to Bible studies, and soon after, to the Nazarene church where the girl who questioned where Susan would spend eternity attended. She knew she needed to learn more about God, so she changed her plan of going to a state university and enrolled at Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, Illinois.
The first day there, Susan met her future husband, Gary. He loved Jesus and came from a family that loved Jesus. The couple dated for a while and then got married. Together, they raised two sons, and today, have grandchildren as well. God has always been good to their family. Still, it hurt when Gary was diagnosed with cancer 11 years ago. This was the first time their faith was put to the test, but God never changed. Gary went through numerous surgeries, chemotherapy, and radiation. Through it all, the couple never saw God differently in their lives. Gary never wavered in his faith.
They noticed when they would get a good report from the doctor, people would say, “Praise God.” But when they got a bad report, often people would respond, “We’ll keep praying.” Gary and Susan understood God to be in both situations — He did not change. When they received bad news, they knew God was in control. Gary suffered for about seven and a half years; they knew his time on Earth was coming to an end.
Gary and Susan decided to take a five-week trip to visit their favorite places. In those places, they praised God. They cried, laughed, and knew God did not change. Through the power of the Holy Spirit and Scripture, Susan knew she was a believer. She didn’t depend on her feelings or her emotions like she had previously done. She now depended on His trusted Word. When they came to Craters of the Moon in Idaho, Gary fell to the ground, saying, “Sue, I can’t get up anymore.” Susan went and got her sweet husband into the car. “I think it’s time to go home,” she replied.
God in the midst of grief
They drove back to Wisconsin, and two weeks later, Gary went to be with Jesus. Susan knew she could count on God because He is faithful and true. She recalls the following from her grieving process:
Someone asked me what stage of grief I was in, and I thought about that. Denial. How can I deny a great God who loved and saved me? I can’t. Anger. How can I be angry at God when He, in His own wisdom, brought me to a saving relationship with Him? Bargaining. How can I bargain with God of the universe? What could I possibly give Him? God cannot be bargained with. Depression. There are many days I feel sad, but I rejoice greatly in the Lord. I have learned to be content, no matter the circumstance, and the secret to being content in any and every situation. Acceptance. I accept what happened. I know God was in control of the situation.
Susan doesn’t know what the next stage of her life is going to be, but she knows God is faithful and true, and He will never leave nor forsake her. When she feels sorry for herself, she looks at Psalms 8. She inserts her name and says, “Sue Punt, who are you that God is even mindful of you?” But God is mindful of her. This truth overwhelms Susan — that He thinks about her, loves her, and cares for her.
“‘Sue Punt, who are you that God is even mindful of you?’ But God is mindful of her. This truth overwhelms Susan — that He thinks about her, loves her, and cares for her.”
There are many Sue’s out there who don’t even know they need Jesus. Yet, they are longing for someone to be consistent in their life and never change. A Gideon handed her a Testament long ago and forever changed her life. The moment she read it, she knew the words contained truth. Because of that single Testament, her mom, dad, and sister all became believers. Her brother also became a believer and is now a pastor. “Every good thing in my life came from opening that Testament. Because of The Gideons International, I get to spend eternity with the Lord Jesus Christ. For that, I am forever grateful,” she says.