Raised voices were shouting accusations outside my house, I could tell it was a girl and a boy. My immediate thought was that it was none of my business. I should stay inside and stop listening. However a soft nudge to get involved persisted and I couldn’t focus on my work.
Making up my mind, I decided I would go out and casually walk by to see what was happening.
I took deep breaths as I walked towards the voices. The argument had escalated and I had no idea who I would meet when I rounded the corner.
When I saw them, there was no way I could walk casually by.
“GET AWAY FROM ME! I’M CALLING THE COPS!” The girl shouted at the boy, her phone in her hand. She began to let out several wild screams. When she saw me, she yelled, “Help!”
I was already approaching carefully. They were both young, teens at most. The boy was standing several feet back from the girl, and God’s peace was filling me so I knew there was no immediate danger despite the desperate shouts.
The boy seeing me, came close and declared, “She’s crazy! I never touched her!”
I had no interest in hearing who hit who or lied or stole, as both made convincing cases against the other and hurled insults back and forth at the top of their lungs. All I saw was two scared kids. I calmly told them I hadn’t witnessed their fight, so I wasn’t going to take sides.
Instead I focused on the boy, trying to convince him to give the girl space. She was clearly not in any state of mind to talk things out, and he was quickly getting frustrated (at one point hurling his scooter in rage, not at anyone, just the ground).
Reminding him to breathe, I asked him if he had somewhere he could go and his answer broke my heart.
“I have nowhere to go, I live in a group home!”
As I tried to talk with him, the girl took advantage of the distraction, jumped on her bike and rode away.
“Are you okay?” I asked. I could see he wasn’t, but I wanted him to talk it out and not bottle it.
Avoiding eye-contact and looking like he was trying not to cry the boy told me, “You don’t care about me.”
“I do care.”
“No. You’re just watching me so I don’t follow her.”
This boy was just a kid and already he was filled with violent pain, convinced he had nowhere to go and that nobody cares. I was nearly crying too. “I do care,” I told him again. Praying for that lie to break.
“No you don’t.” He kept looking at his shoes.
“Do you believe in God?”
He looked up, “I’m an atheist.”
“Well I believe in God and I know He cares about you. Can I pray for you?”
For a minute I was worried he was just going to bolt, I could tell there were many waves of strong emotions still rolling through him. But he let me, going very quiet and still for the first time. When I finished the prayer, he got on his scooter and took off.
I went back to my house fighting tears until I got in the door. And then I just fell to the floor and sobbed.
Nowhere to go, the words he said just kept ringing over and over in my mind.
There is somewhere to go, always. God has been my somewhere to go most of my life and I would never be where I am without it. I wouldn’t have made it.
The point of this story is it all started with me thinking I shouldn’t interrupt. I am horrified at the idea that I almost stayed inside. How much did I help? I don’t know. But it was worth it to be able to say to him someone does care, I care. And God cares. And you are not alone. It was worth it to pray.
All of us face circumstances like this. That’s why, as Adam Shepski would say, the Gospel matters. The Gospel is love.
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
As children of light, you have something to offer this world that cannot be overcome, use it. And never doubt that you are needed.
Global Prayer Catalyst Assistant
Youth for Christ Canada