“Don’t try and interview me. Because there are a lot of things in my life that I don’t want to talk about,” she had told me before we met for coffee. And yet, here she was pouring out the details, horrible heart-breaking details, of the choices she had made and the gut-wrenching fall-out. What to say? Where to begin? “Jesus loves you” seemed to intangible. How on earth do I “hold out the word of life” right now on this couch to this broken woman? A woman who hasn’t looked beyond today for years because the next day had never offered her the hope that she no longer believed in.
I told her the truth. “I can’t fix the very weighty problems that you are dealing with. But I can offer my friendship. I will be faithful to you. And I can tell you about how to have new life. And that God has made a way for the slate to be wiped clean.” Then I asked her if I could pray with her. The only thing she said she needed was a job. I asked if I could pray for the heart and relational challenges she was juggling too. So we did.
I was getting ready to leave. Her phone rang. It was Wal-Mart offering her a job. She screamed,leapt around the kitchen and then grabbed my arms and said “You have to pray for me again!”
“God is real. He wants you. You are not alone.” I said quietly. Later that night, I texted her those same words. I added “Therefore, there is HOPE.”
We saw each other a couple more times. On our last visit she talked about how empty life was. She just wanted to be normal. And stable. She said she was tired of seeking one temporary satisfaction after the next. “I’ve lived that way for so long. That life is empty,” she confessed.
I haven’t seen her again. She left the house where she was a nanny, taking several of her host family’s items with her. As promised, I had not shared with anyone the things we had spoken about. The family didn’t see it coming.
A few days later, I sent her this text:
Beloved, your debt has been paid. The items you took from my friend totaled $92- two comforters, a lamp, laundry detergent, and a dozen eggs. My husband and I paid the family $92 in your name. You owe them nothing but a confession. If you ever see them again, they will tell you “thank you for repaying us for what you took.”
Beloved, do you see that Jesus has paid your debt for all the terrible things you told me about when we were sitting on that couch? All that you feel guilt and shame for? It has been paid for too. Jesus paid for it Himself. If you confess everything to Him, He wipes the slate clean. I know. Because He wiped my slate clean too.
I do not condemn you. You can have a new life today. You do not have to keep running. Jesus is calling you to Himself. That’s where new life is found.
Call me. Let’s have coffee.
I have not heard from her again. She is still running. In the meantime, redemption waits patiently.
For more on the true Christian life, see Christianity According to Jesus.