Chris and I met by chance at an eatery. Our conversation began with the typical small talk, and Chris said that he was just passing through the area as he looked for work. He said that he enjoys working outside with his hands, and for many years worked on oil rigs, sending money home to aid in the raising of his oldest two children (now adults). Then Chris told me he just had a new baby and was returning to some of those practices.
I listened to Chris tell me about his children and his personal habits. Observing him, I could sense his pain and see concern in Chris's eyes; here was a man who wanted to help raise his child to be "a good person,” but was not sure how he could accomplish this when so many things in the world are a mess. It was at this point I said to Chris, “I don’t know if you are a person of faith, but I believe there is One who can fix all these problems in this world. His name is Jesus.” Chris agreed with me; he told me that he used to go to church, and that he had met Jesus. He quoted some Scripture from the book of Matthew and smiled.
A short time later, Chris told me of the regretful things he had done in his life, including belonging to a gang that he was able to leave only because of his brothers' positions in the gang. At that point the pain in Chris's heart became increasingly evident. “I want to change but I can’t. Sometimes I think my wife and baby would be better off without me,” he said.
I asked Chris if I could reflect on what I had heard up to that point, and he allowed me to do that. I recounted his desire to serve his family and raise his children well, and told Chris that although he felt helpless and useless, Christ sees him as being so important, He died for his sins. I told him there is nothing which can stop God from redeeming him, and that God has a purpose for him.
At this point Chris thanked me and said that he believed God had sent me to that random eatery to meet with Chris and encourage him.
“All praise be to God," I said.
Chris asked, “Do you mean that? Do you really mean that?”
I told Chris to get back to his family and to take care of them, and reminded him to bring anything he needed to God. Chris left what was before him at that moment and returned to his family.
Please join me in praying for Chris and all of those who feel they aren’t good enough for God to love. Pray that their hearts and ears will be open to the truth of God's love and the Good News that, although none of us can be "good enough," Jesus’ righteousness reaches beyond each person's downfalls and redeems the broken.