04 Nov Day 27
Never Give Up
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9
Like other 18-year-olds, it’s not unusual for our graduates to spread their all-too-cocky wings prepared to soar after leaving our nest. Nor is it unheard of for them to take a nose dive. As much as we prepare them to launch, freedom is a double-edged sword. Most regroup and get right back on track, but some fall harder than others.
Erik was graduating and had the world by the tail. Charismatic, athletic and smart, he was promised a job at a family-owned business after his internship and they were even going to pay for college! But as his time to leave grew near, he started messing up – skipping school, coming late to work, breaking every confidence we had in him. Sensing he wasn’t ready to be on his own, we let him stay well beyond his allotted time at the graduate transition home.
Finally, we arranged for him to live with a distant relative. But the spiral continued. We tried to intervene, but he lost his job, and then his place to live. Then we heard that he had been recruited by the drug trade and was shopping for a gun. One of our “informants” even sent pictures.
Anderson, our house parent, refused to give up. Tracking him down, he found him one last opportunity with a church member who ran a car wash. Erik could even live in his loft. It lasted all of three weeks. Erik kept betraying confidences of this generous friend, even crashing a car. The friend was done.
Personally, I was done too. After all, he was about 0-15 at this point. Let Erik find his rock bottom, and then we can think about what to do next. This was a smart, handsome guy who had once made a profession of faith. What was going on?
I’d never seen Anderson so distraught, but he refused to give up. Erik hardly deserved yet another chance, but Anderson was unwilling to see him swallowed up by the streets. Picking him up, he drove around aimlessly, desperately seeking direction, dialing friends to call in favors. No one wanted Erik. He had burned every possible bridge.
It was not until late evening, going on their second tank of gas, that Anderson finally called an acquaintance in another city who ran a YWAM training camp for aspiring missionaries. The director said Erik could stay the weekend, but no more.
I was traveling when I got the call. It was Anderson, sobbing. My heart was in my throat. What was he trying to tell me? Erik what? Anderson’s wife Jucileine finally took the phone. “They want to keep Erik. The YWAM camp has offered him a two-year scholarship.”
All I could think of was the parable of the lost sheep. If one is lost, wouldn’t you leave the 99 and go after him? Clearly not everyone would, but Anderson did. And wouldn’t you rejoice when you found him? Anderson was overwhelmed with relief.
It has been three months now and Erik is doing great. He is contributing and growing spiritually. On his days off, Anderson drives a couple of hours to visit him. What kind of time off is that? The kind a house parent at Hope has for his kids.
Father, thank you for giving each one of us so much more grace than we deserve. Help us to become more like You.