What do you do with a homeless, addicted teenager who dresses goth and has an attitude to match? Just always remember that God has His eye on the one who is lost, and He is working all things out — good and bad — together for their good.
I ran from God for many years of my life, shaking my fist at Him in anger because of my pain. I was broken, and I didn’t know that my heart really longed for the embrace of the One I was running from. In the same way, God is pursuing your loved one.
As a teenager, I became homeless and addicted. Every member of my family opened their homes to me for a time, but in the end, I always had to be asked to leave. Finally, a Christian couple from my brother’s church in another state said they would take me in. The only thing was, they made a stipulation.
I’ll never forget the wife, Sharon, saying, “You have to come to church with us every Sunday.”
I froze. Church? What? Why? I looked at her from the corner of my eye, totally shocked. But I’m an atheist!
The thought of having to go to church every week seemed like a nightmare.
“Does that work for you?” she asked.
I let out a sigh. I needed a place to stay. I wanted a warm bed. Food. “Okay, I’ll go to church with you.”
From then on, every Sunday, I would come down the steps wearing pajamas, fuzzy slippers, and a black hoodie with obscene things on it, always expecting Sharon to say, “You can’t go to church like that!” but she never did.
Instead, as soon as she saw me, she would say, “Great! Let’s get in the car!” Then she would hand me some breakfast and head outside. Every Sunday.
I would listen to the pastor and think, How can this be real? How can God be so good if there is so much evil in my life? I knew nothing but pain, rejection, and disappointment. I just couldn’t reconcile a good God with a life plagued by traumatic experiences.
But Sharon never gave up. She would talk to me for hours, and slowly, I began to release my voice. I started talking. God was thawing out my frozen vocal cords just like He was thawing out my frozen heart.
I received love and acceptance from this couple — unlikely heroes, angels unaware. Sharon let me wear my hair whatever color I wanted, and she never tried to change how I dressed or the music I listened to. She never asked me to stop wearing black clothes and black makeup. One morning I woke up, went to my closet to get dressed, and said, “I don’t want to wear this stuff anymore. I don’t want to wear all black either.” Just like that, I was done with being a punk or a goth.
I stayed with them for three years until I graduated from high school. When there had been absolutely no hope for me, God used them to point me to Him simply through being solid and steady and kind. When life separated me from my family, God answered and provided for me through a different family.
That’s one of the most incredible things I have come to discover. God is at work all the time in all of us. It doesn’t matter if we believe in Him or not. He still sovereignly works, and we still fall under His protection, whether we have asked for it or not. He sees us, and He always creates pathways so we can come to Him and receive His love. He orchestrates the entire universe to draw us to Himself and will break down every wall to reach the depths of our hearts with His love.
Nothing nor no one is ever too far gone. The Lord’s heart always turns toward restoration. He desires to restore what’s lost and make our broken hearts whole.
Maybe you love someone who is far from God right now. Maybe the one you care about battles with addiction or anger or betrayal, or maybe they’ve just made bad choices and found themselves in despair, running from God and perhaps even running from you. All hope can seem lost.
I am here to tell you that hope never runs out. Hope is a person, and His name is Jesus. He is the greatest advocate you will ever know. Our wisest adviser. The kindest caretaker. Our greatest defender. He is never in a hurry, and He never gets frustrated to the point of giving up and casting someone off as a lost cause.
He always comes through! Even now, God is setting things in motion to orchestrate a divine interruption, an intervention.
Continue contending for the loved ones who have never known the Lord or have walked away from Him. Isaiah 55:11 says: “So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.”
Take courage. The story is not over. There is nothing we can ever do that God cannot undo. He has infinite ideas and resources for healing and restoration. Don’t give up. Keep praying. Keep believing. Keep standing on the promises of God. Thank God in advance for working things out and hold steady to the hope He offers. He will be your anchor in the storm.
Cristina Baker is an author, who is passionate to see people encounter the love of God and find hope in his Son Jesus Christ. She has a deep desire for people to find victory and freedom through the power of prayer. Cristina resides in Austin, Texas, with her husband, Ryan, and their teenage son, Evan.