Oct 22, 2008

The Real World - Part Three

And then he said, "Miss, is it wrong to 'not like' someone you're supposed to love?"

I knew at that moment there was a deep, deep struggle going on inside this young man.

"Ryan, there are several people in my life that have fallen into that category over the years. It's kind of how God feels about us when we mess up. He ALWAYS loves us, but sometimes He doesn't like our behavior. Does that make sense?"

Unable to hold it in any longer, Ryan broke down in quiet sobs. One of his peers reached over to touch his shoulder in a gesture of support, but Ryan batted his arm away.

My heart broke. Grandma's too, perhaps even audibly.

I whispered a prayer and asked the Lord to give us SOMETHING with which to comfort this broken and hurting young man. Words came swiftly and flowed out. I have no idea what I said, but heads were nodding in agreement all around the room. The Lord showed up. He spoke. He gave some measure of comfort to Ryan.

Ryan looked up, his eyes and face red from crying. "I LOVE my dad. I idolize him. But he... he keeps messing up. And I'm just like him. That's why I'm in here. I'm like my mom, too. She's locked up. I'm so angry. I'm just so... A.N.G.R.Y. He can't stop doing drugs, and he makes me buy them for him. I'm afraid he's going to... he told me if it wasn't for me, he'd probably...



The pain and feared that gripped Ryan's heart finally completely overwhelmed him. Words failed him. I knew there was much more to the story than Ryan had shared. It didn't matter. The pain was etched on his face.

My mind raced. This is outrageous! What kind of human would put that kind of burden on the shoulders of a teenager? What kind of father could profess his love for his son and care so little about his well-being? What kind of mother gives birth to a child and squanders her own life away and leaves the kid alone? Why doesn't someone rescue this child from his own family?

But I already knew the answer. They're people who are without Jesus.

"Ryan, I'm SO sorry you've had to go through this," I said after a long moment. "I wish I could wave a magic wand and make it all go away. I can't. But I do know of a miraculous salve for your wounded heart." As I talked about Jesus' complete and perfect and peace-filled love for him, tears slipped down his cheeks.

Grandma shared the plan of salvation in a simple yet powerful way. The same friend reached over to touch his shoulder, and this time, Ryan allowed it. His countenance softened. His tears no longer spilled over. He listened intently. So did his peers.

Just then, the day room door opened, and Allen, our resident "Gospel illusionist" walked in. Allen's dad was like Ryan's. Allen became a dad like Ryan's. He was the perfect person to minister to Ryan at that moment. He related to him in a way Grandma and I never could. We sat in awe of God's timing and provision as we listened to Allen share his heart with Ryan and the other boys in the room. He laid out the plan of salvation again. And he led them in the sweetest prayer.

God showed up.

In a big way.

People, young people, are hurting so desperately and so deeply. The best and only thing we have to offer them is Jesus. But He IS the best and only One Who can save them.

Do you know a Ryan? Have you introduced him (her) to Jesus?

He'll show up.

In a big way.


Anonymous said...

Oh, how sweet! Made me tear up too! GOD certainly knew about Ryan...and it's no accident that the people HE wanted to "speak" to his heart were all there for him!

Love ya and what yall do!!!

Sheryl said...

Wow that was worth waiting for! I know many Ryans, maybe not the same life story - but hurting kids just the same. I love what you do! God is well pleased I'm sure. And HE sure does show up!!


PS I will ask God to bring Ryan to mind so that I will pray.

DidiLyn said...

Jenn, that breaks my heart for Ryan. I am just so so sad that his parents are so callous and unloving. It makes me hurt for him.
God is good and God will shower him with the love that heals. "God sets the lonely in families."
Thanks for wrting and sharing this heart wrenching story.

Krista said...


I should know better by now..... My makeup was looking GOOD before I read this. I can't imagine the suffering that that child is going through. But God is good, he knows the plans he has for Ryan.

LadyBugCrossing said...

Those kids are lucky - they have you and your ministry. God did show up and He will continue to do so. You are doing terrific work!


The Fires said...

God does know when to show up and the continuing ministry is bringing hope and healing to so many young people. I pray that your ministry will continue to bring the love of Jesus to those who need His healing touch. God bless you all!

GoSuze! said...

Terrific story...treat ending. I have no patience for bad parenting. Thanks for sharing!!!

GoSuze! said...

I meant GREAT ending. Sheesh.

Anonymous said...

You have such a gift - for writing - for ministry to these kids. For writing about ministering to these kids. Purple crowns await you!