Keller Family Blog

When I Could

One night when attending a student weekly meeting while studying at Purdue University, I was impressed on my heart a song. Later that night, I wrote down the words which are presented here. God used these words to challenge me to take a step of faith and to start telling others about Jesus. A few weeks later I went to a student conference in Florida where I was trained in sharing the gospel and put into a situation where I could tell someone about Jesus.  The first person I shared with on the beach made a decision to follow Jesus. Not only was he changed in that moment but so was I. Here are the words that God used in my life. I have recently recited this in a dramatic fashion titled “When I Could” instead of singing as the song has aged in 22 years since it was first written. The video on Youtube follows the words below.

When I Could

Originally titled:
Why, Oh Why?

Words and Music by Kent Keller

The day came quick. The end was here. The Host of Hosts was in the air.
No longer on this earth we trod. It is time to stand before our God!
The sheep to His right, the goats to His left, believers were separated from the rest.
I was standing on the edge of the sheep, when a chasm opened that was infinitely deep.
Then across the way I heard a yell, an old friend of mine on his way to Hell.
He looked at me and I heard him say, “Why didn’t you tell me about this day?”

He yelled…
“Why? Oh Why, didn’t you tell me why? Why? Oh why do I have to die?
Why didn’t you tell me ’bout Jesus Christ, your savior, your redeemer, your giver of life?
If you had told me, I would have heard of the Gospel, of the Word.
I would have believed and understood, if you had only told me when you could.”

All the sudden I saw the others: fathers and sisters, and mothers and brothers.
All of them from my days of old, when I was timid and not very bold.
They turned toward me and they cried out loud,”Why didn’t you try to keep us from this crowd?”

They cried…
“Why? Oh why didn’t you tell us why? Why? Oh why do we have to die?
Why didn’t you tell us ’bout Jesus Christ, your savior, your redeemer, your giver of life?
If you had told us, we would have heard of the Gospel, of the Word.
We would have believed and understood, if you had only told us when you could.”

I was amazed by the thousands, I could see, that had gone through their lives watching me.
I stood there speechless. I couldn’t talk. I could not move. I could not walk.
I wept, I cried, I even felt alone, for I had brought no one else to the Throne.

I thought…
“Why? Oh why didn’t I tell them Why? Why? Oh why do they have to die?
Why didn’t I tell them about Jesus Christ, my Savior, my Redeemer, my Giver of Life?
If I had told them, they would have heard of the Gospel, of the Word.
They would have believed and understood, if I had only told them when I could.”


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© 1990-2013 Kent Keller – Paper duplication allowed if for free. For online distribution please link to this page.

Here are links to PDF Why, Oh Why? -A4 and Why, Oh Why? – US Letter size.

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523 thoughts on “When I Could

  1. Kenneth Smith

    Hay Kent, This is Ken, I just watched your video! It was (So-oo GOOD). Don’t know what to say! I will share this with my brother that I’ve been wetnessing to. Pray for him please. He’s such a good man, but really hard to get to understand about salvation. He is (smart) to be so dumb too. His name is Keith Brewster. (half brother). Love yall, come visit when you can and we will too.Hug and Kiss everyone for us ,Kenny

  2. Pingback: When I Could – YouTube Video Release | Keller Family Blog

  3. Rebecca Hewitt-Walraven

    Thanks for the important message in your video “When I Could”….convicting and motivating!!

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