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GRACE AND GEORGE WILLIAMS


Max Ellerbusch tells the story of the Friday six days before Christmas. He was working feverishly in his instrument repair shop so he could have all of the Christmas holiday at home with the family when the call came. His 5-year-old Craig had been fatally struck by a car. Craig has been standing at the curb waiting for the crossing guard to give the signal and when he did, Craig stepped into the street and a car blazed out of nowhere going so fast that no one had seen it. The crossing guard, shouted, waved and had to jump for his own life but the car never stopped.


Grace and Max drove home from the hospital through the Christmas lighted trees, not believing what had happened to them. When he entered the house and passed Craig's empty bed, it suddenly hit him and he burst into tears. Life seemed in that moment so empty and senseless. That night he lay in bed thinking, "If such a child can die, if such a life can be snuffed out in a minute, then life is meaningless and faith is a delusion."


By morning his hatred was focused on the driver who was a 15-year-old. He came from a broken home. His mother worked the nightshift and slept during the day. He ditched school and took the car keys and went joyriding. His name was George Williams. Max phoned the lawyer and demanded he be prosecuted to the limit. "Try him as an adult! Juvenile court is not enough."



Late the next night, Max was pacing the hall in the middle of the night and asking God to show him "why?" At that moment, the presence of Christ fell upon him. His breath went out of him with a great sigh and with it all the anger and hatred. In its place was a feeling of utter love. It was so sudden that it dazed him, like a lightning strike that turned out to be a dawn. He went back into the bedroom where his wife was numbly sitting up and staring straight ahead. He then said, "Tonight, Craig is beyond needing us. Someone else needs us: George Williams. It's almost Christmas. If we don't send George a Christmas gift at the juvenile home, he may not get one."



George turned out to be an intelligent, confused, desperately lonely boy, needing a father as much as I needed a son. He got his Christmas gift on Christmas day; his mother got a gift as well. We asked for and got his release a few days later and our home became his second home. He works with me in the shop after school, joins us for meals around the kitchen table and became a big brother for my three younger kids.


And then he writes, "In that moment when I met Christ, more was changed than just my feelings about George. That meeting affected every area of my life: my approach to business, to friends and to strangers...I now know for certainty that no matter what life does to us in the future, I will never again touch the rock bottom of despair. No matter how profound the blow seems, the joy (and grace) I glimpsed in the moment blinding moment...is even more profound."

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