The anxiety built up in me as soon as I pulled up & saw him. I started to uncontrollably shake, my jaw tighten into a clench, I wanted to scream but my voice was so shaky I could hardly get the words out, “Hey, can I show you something?”
It was him. It was the young man whose pictures had uploaded to my iCloud the day after my sweet little business had been broken into for the third time in as many weeks. Technology had pinned the culprit, but we had yet to find his whereabouts.
But there he was. Back at the scene of the crime, using the very electric outlet that had offered him the hidden key that gave him admission to his jackpot. He was there & I was confronting him.
“Yeah, I guess. What is it?” He mumbled, apprehensive about our interaction.
As I turned his image to face him, I stated the obvious, “It the selfies of you that uploaded to my cloud after you robbed my business.”
The look on his precious, sixteen-year-old face said it all. It said, “This is all I know.”
He denied breaking in, he offered up a thousand excuses as to why he had my stolen property & some from the business I share a building with. He had clearly dealt with the police on more than one occasion. This was not his first rodeo.
After positively identifying him & confiscating all of the electronics that were on him, he rode away, in flip flops on a freezing Thursday morning.
My heart sank, but I couldn’t quite tell you why. Part of me wanted quick justice, handed down by the police that I felt completely betrayed by. Part of me wanted him to come back, apologize, tell me his life story & hug it out in a series of confessions on & tears. Part of me wanted to chase him down, give him a piece of my mind & explain that I understood but it still hurt. My jumbled thoughts went mostly unchallenged throughout the day. I was torn.
A few days later the detective, who I’m sure was happy to oblige after a plethora of justifiably angry phone calls in the previous weeks, called to let me know that some of the electronics found on this young man were, in fact, identified as some taken during the burglaries. He also told me the long list of burdens that have since been laid on my heart to carry like the weight I can only assume that Jesus carries for us.
He is sixteen. He hasn’t been enrolled in school for three years. His father is twelve years into a twenty year prison sentence. He lives with his grandmother because his mother is isn’t “in the picture” much. His uncle, who is also sixteen, had been arrested the previous week for an armed robbery. The facts are bleak & give a sorted, sorry look into the life of a young man, who I am sure, just doesn’t know any better.
The odds are not ever in his favor. Statistically he is doomed. The record would show, that he is headed for a long life of crime & punishment.
But that is not the story I am choosing to believe. I have seen mightier miracles preformed in less desirable circumstances. I have witnessed lives changed & bonds broken. I KNOW that God can swiftly work in the lives of murderous killers, slaying Christians through the Holy Lands & use them to build up His kingdom. I believe in healing, for this little guy, for you, for me.
I’m praying today, hard & heavy, that he would have a road to Damascus revolutionary conversion. May his life be marked by this very moment. May he find the peace of the Lord today. Lord, let the hounds of Heaven fiercely pursue his heart, finding him now, to bring him closely to your side.