RailHope Karl Weikl discovered a fulfilling life

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Karl Weikl discovered a fulfilling life

Sarahu Abinaya

I was born in Schladming in 1965 as a child of a family of railway people and grown up in the railway district. Therefore my way to the railway can be traced from the beginning. But despite my professional success, and personal wealth an oppressive sense of emptiness set up within me.

In the ÖBB training workshop in Salzburg I learnt to be a machinist. Afterwards I graduated the education to train driver. At 22 I was state-tested and approved for service as engineer.

In 1987 I met my future wife Rosi. Five years later our son Stefan was born. The year after we married, and again another year later our daughter Manuela saw the light of the world. We moved into a condominium and bought a new car. 1999 our second son Thomas was born. 2004 we were able to afford an own house. A life report like out of a picture book – so to say everything perfect!

Frightening emptiness

But although I had everything I wanted, I felt a great void within me which frightened me. The responsibility for my family showed me that I wouldn’t be able to manage everything at every time. When a was young I thought I could bend things like I wanted. In my extended circle of friends was no room for weakness and problems. Because I was one of the youngest I drank often too much to cover up things and to gain confidence. With this mask of alcohol and arrogance I managed to make end meets with my colleagues. But now as a family man the facade began to crumble. More and more I became aware of my immature behaviour. The premature birth of our daughter, followed by a serious illness showed me in a drastic way how helpless I was, strictly speaking. Our very lively son Stefan let me feel my limited knowledge of breeding, and my dejected wife who worried and accused herself about the premature birth of Manuela finished me off.

Good and bad tradition

During this time I began to search seriously for God. Despite being brought up in a traditional Christian home and despite my religious education and attending confirmation classes where I heard about all the main issues of Christian faith I never really took in the universal redemptive which Jesus Christ accomplished at the cross. I lived faith as I was told from my parents: To keep the 10 commandments, to pray a “Our Father” in the evening and to go to church at the High Holidays. By this means I developed an image of a good-natured, old, kind God who helps everybody at every time when he is asked for. And so I used “my friendly God” like a fire brigade: Every time when there was “fire in the roof” I pleaded for help, and as soon everything went fine again I lived according to my own rules to the next emergency.

Decision with consequences

But now, where I was physically exhausted and at the end of my rope I realized that my philosophy of life had a hook… In my attempt to get closer to God I never doubted that he existed. Despite other statements from school and media for me God always was real. And so I regarded it as a divine providence that someday while I had to be in hospital my former catechist and pastor looked in the door. He came to me as ordered. I bombarded him with questions and he was eager to tell me the gospel. From then he visited us frequently at home to read the bible with Rosi and me, to talk about and to pray with us. I learnt that our previous view of faith was unbiblical and wrong. By reading the bible and after many discussions I recognized that I needed a personal relationship to Jesus Christ. And I realized that salvation comes only through and with Christ! He himself says: “I am the way, the truth and the life, nobody will come to the father than through me!” Finally I comprehended that I was loved unconditionally by God and that I can’t help anything by own actions to get saved – except a clear “Yes” to Jesus. I knew I had to make a decision. Either a egocentric life I had until now – or a life surrendered to Jesus Christ.

And so one day I went down on my knees and invited Jesus to take over the helm of my life. I had to be 30 years old before I got certainty that I was saved through Jesus’ death at the cross and through his resurrection from the dead. About the same time my wife Rosi too surrendered her life to Jesus.

On the move with God

It wasn’t that all problems evaporated, but at last I was able to let the mask drop and to cast aside all my burdens and fears to my Lord Jesus. Under the Cross there is plenty room for all worries and fears! And now I experienced inner peace like never before. It was like coming home after a long journey. A return to the Father as in the parable of the Prodigal Son. (Luke 15, 11-32) Rosi and I were accepted lovingly in the protestant parish of Schladming, and up to the present day we’re part of the ministry of this church. My parish used to be unfamiliar to me, but now I discovered how many dedicated Christians used their talents to spread the gospel.

27 years I working as en engineer with the ÖBB by now, and for several years I am a member of RailHope Austria. So it’s my concern to pass the good news from Jesus Christ to my co-workers. During my services on the trains I often meet colleagues or passengers who like to talk about faith. To talk about God is easy, but as soon the conversation comes to the issue of a personal relationship to Jesus people take her distance. And so for me it’s very important to encourage people to look out for the meaning of life, which is the homecoming to God, through faith in Jesus. I hope very much that many of them start to make the search for God – like it’s said: “he who seeks find”!

Karl Weikl – ÖBB engine driver / Selzthal  


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