The young lady could not have been too much over sixteen years old. She came to the office in an old pickup with two men who stayed outside in the cab. Before she was finished filling out a benevolence form, they left and she went outside to wait on the steps going up to the offices.
Seeing her, I went outside and sat down beside her. I didn’t know whether she would talk to me or not. As I introduced myself and asked her how she was doing, I could sense she was uncomfortable. So, I knew not to come on too strong. However, she did come to us for help, which in my mind gives me permission to meddle a little bit. She needed assistance for a utility bill.
She informed me she was living with her boyfriend and she didn’t make enough with her job alone to pay the utilities. When I asked her about why he was not helping, she told me he had just gotten a job and was starting to work that same day. I asked her whether they were going to get married and she said, “Eventually.”
As we talked, my heart began to break for her. A high school dropout living with a fellow she was supporting. She was admittedly tired. I gave her my card and offered my help, if there was anything I could do in the future. When I left, the last words I said to her were, “Jesus is the answer!”
Back inside, through the window I saw the pickup truck return. She had reported to me earlier that the two men were her boyfriend and his father. My heart sank as I saw them, the two men in the cab and her in the back, sitting in the bed of the pickup. Few things can melt the heart of this old man like a young girl in distress and being taken advantage of.
I wonder how many times Jesus felt what I felt. His heart surely broke at many such situations. The innocent, misguided and abused were just as present in His day. And, for those of us who know it doesn’t have to be, it hurts. No wonder Jesus often slipped away to the wilderness to pray (see Luke 5:16). There are times when anyone in the business of helping must take a breather, a break.
I desire to say that such situations are decreasing in 2017, but I cannot. By all indications, they are getting worse.
What is the answer? More money? Less pain? Love? Peace? Everything a person really needs is summed upon in this one, all-inclusive concept: Jesus!