Summary: God’s Word is a discerner of our ways.
The Penetrating Word of God
The young man grew up in church. He was there with his mother every time the door opened and though sometimes she wondered if he was listening, he was there. He heard the stories of faith. He sang the songs of faith. He even embraced the faith at one point and was baptized as a sign of his commitment to Jesus Christ.
As the young man grew and matured he began to see other young men around him who didn’t desire any commitment to Christ. They were a rough crowd. A group of young men who loved to party and chase the girls. Some of the young men had already been in trouble with the police, but they didn’t count it as any big thing. As a matter of fact, they wore their record as a badge of pride in the neighborhood. Donnie saw the young men as confident, cool, and willing to challenge anybody who would try to stand in their way, regardless of who they were or how old they happened to be.
Donnie’s mother saw what was happening in her son’s life. He was breaking her heart, but she felt like her hands were tied as he was now a teenager. He was bigger and stronger than she was. Mom kept praying. She wore her knees out asking the Lord to turn her son’s heart back to what is right. The day came when Donnie’s mom went to get him up for church on Sunday morning and Donnie refused to go. He told her that church was a waste of his time and that he didn’t want to go anymore.
Donnie’s mother tried everything to get him to go with her to church that morning. She came on strong insisting that she was his mother and he needed to respect her authority. It didn’t work. She cried and pleaded with him to get right with the Lord and come with her to church. It didn’t work. She got angry and out of her frustration she said things that later she resented, but they were spoken out of a concerned heart. It didn’t work. Nothing worked.
About one year later Donnie was arrested and now he was truly one of the boys. At that point mom sat down with her son and told him that they were going to go and talk with the preacher. She said, "The Lord can help you get your life together before you make it worse."
The day came when Donnie and his mother walked into my office. His demeanor was different that it had been in the past. He slouched in his chair, rolled his eyes at his mother as she cried, and never budged from his commitment to do what he wanted to do with his life. When Donnie’s mother saw that we weren’t getting anywhere she pleaded through tears with her son to turn back to the Lord before he really got into trouble. She said, "Those boys that you think are so cool won’t be there when you get into really bad trouble, but the Lord will be there, I will be there, and Pastor Mike will be there. Don’t wait until you get into really bad trouble or get killed. Donnie, you need to get right with the Lord today."
I urged Donnie to listen to his mother. I shared Scripture with him. I shared stories of other young men that I have known that disregarded God’s Word and where it had gotten them. It didn’t work. Donnie and his mother left my office that day and the next time I heard from him Donnie was in solitary confinement in the county jail.
Donnie’s mother called me broken-hearted. I contacted the county jail and made arrangements to go see him. I took Ray Arechiga with me that day since Ray was familiar with what life apart from God will get you. When we got to solitary confinement it was a sad sight. The men in solitary are kept in seclusion like animals in an outdated zoo. Shackles held their feet and hands together. Everyone in solitary confinement wore orange jump suits like corporate executives dressed in navy blue power suits. The only difference was that there was no power possessed by those in orange that day.
When Donnie came out of his cell shame was written all over his face. When he sat down we made small talk and I told him how glad I was to see him. We talked about his offence, his trial date, and his possible punishment. Then, I looked at Donnie and said, "How many of your homeboys have been by to see you since you’ve been in here?" Donnie shook his head and said, "None." I said, "Oh really. I thought these were your homeboys. The guys who loved you. The ones who would never turn their back on you. Where are they?" Donnie couldn’t even speak. I said, "Donnie, your mother loves you. There are a lot of people who love you, but they aren’t the ones who encouraged you to get into this mess. Your buddies won’t come to see you, but I want you to know that Jesus is in solitary confinement with you. He won’t ever leave you. He is waiting for you to cry out to Him so that He can lead you back home."