There for a Reason
A number of years back, I mentored a young woman who had been recently paroled from prison. I was a part of a new program in which paroled inmates were assigned a mentor to guide them through their reentry into society.
The beginning of our relationship was tenuous at best. Her first words after meeting me were, “I’m forced to be here. But they can’t make me listen.” I couldn’t help but wonder what I had gotten into. Her demeanor was threatening, her attitude fierce. Not a good start.
Of course, one of my objectives initially in meeting with Barbara was to introduce her to Jesus. She was dying of pancreatic cancer—time was short—but with her attitude, it was obvious I was going to have to move slowly, and with a lot of love.
My first attempt was met with a terse response, “I’m an atheist.” I began to sense that this was a lost cause.
The Most Important Question
Gradually, as Barbara and I met over a period of a few months, she began to let down her guard and let me into her circle. She would ask my advice on household items for her apartment, then ask me to go shopping with her. As time went on, she requested advice on her recent marriage and I would share with her what the Bible taught about husbands and wives.
I had the impression that she might have been listening, but I wasn’t sure. One day Barbara invited me to her trailer-house to help her apply a sun-shield film over the small windows in the trailer door. We talked as we worked. Later, as we were sipping iced tea and resting, she was very quiet, pensive.
I didn’t break the mood. It was she who finally broke the silence. “I was talking to my husband the other night” she began, “about what would happen after I’m gone. I was thinking about all the things you’ve been telling me.” Did she get my attention!
“What if I’m wrong, and you’re right? If I’m right, I have nothing to lose, but if I’m wrong and there is a God…” her voice trailed off. We spent the next hour or so, answering her questions. And praying. Praying! Just a few months later, Barbara died