In my early teens I had just begun dabbling with drugs. Like most teenagers, I took the opportunity to brag about it whenever possible, as this behavior was considered cool. As I was puffing up with pride relating my shenanigans, my favorite cousin (3 years my senior) came crashing down on me like thunder.
You idiot! What do you think you’re doing! Do you want to throw your life away! Don’t be stupid, Ted!
His words combined with the tone in his voice shook my foundations.
I did everything I could to hold back the dam of tears welling up behind my eyes. In fact, I was holding a football helmet which I slowly slid down over my head in a feeble attempt to contain myself in light of his wrath.
I felt like a shaken bottle of soda. My insides were churning. My face, neck, and chest were hot with red splotches. Head hung low, I trembled on the stairs in my cousin’s house. I began to whimper.
Suddenly, I felt the helmet being pulled off my head. My cousin wrapped his arms around me and hugged me tightly. He pulled me close so my head pressed against his chest. He radiated compassion, gentleness, and grace.
Shh. Shh. Shh.
I don’t remember what words were said during this time. It’s the feeling that remains – being loved despite my brokenness.
I wish I could say that after that moment I followed the straight and narrow. That would take a few more years. Yet, the moment – that holy moment from God – was influential in turning a troubled teenager toward the light.
As I reflect on moments like these, I’m reminded of God’s grace always at work, seeking to save the lost, constantly drawing all things to Himself. He’ll use babes, children, teenagers. He’ll make ordinary moments extraordinary. He’ll use stupid behavior to serve His good purposes. He will not stop chasing His children until we’re in His arms, resting against His chest, and we hear the glorious sound of His, Shh.
Thanks for reading,
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39)