Timeless Truth Number Two – Meet people where they’re at, not where you want them to be.
They were a young and charming married couple. Mark and Amber seemed to great parents to a lovely two-year old daughter. Mark had a steady job at a local oil change company and was on track to becoming the manager, while his wife Amber worked professionally in an office across town. They were tracking upwards, pinching pennies and making the best of their situation to move their lives forward. Then, as they told me, the rug got pulled from underneath them.
Sitting in a restaurant for the first time with this young couple I heard their story of how they were high school sweethearts, after graduation were married and became parents quickly. Both of them told me their history as children, what home life was like how they were raised in and around the church, and how they saw themselves as people whom valued the essence of life. Understanding I worked for a local pregnancy care center they were letting me know without asking or prompting how precious unborn life was to them.
Yet, because of current hardships, in spite of their upbringing and convictions of their heart – they were skeptical of finding a reason to have another child right now and were deeply considering an abortion to their unborn child Amber just learned she was pregnant with. The rug [their dreams of how life should be going for them] got pulled from underneath them.
Confused, after hearing their life’s story, their upbringing and how they viewed life I asked, “What would lead you into thinking you really needed to have an abortion right now?” I was taken back by their follow up response, “We don’t have room in our car for another car seat and we can’t afford another car. This is our only option.”
Mark and Amber were driving a late model Ford F-150 truck. As it turned out Mark drove Amber to work each day and with a car seat between them dropped his little girl off to daycare everyday. With only room for three people in their car, and not enough money to purchase a second car, the young couple felt stretched beyond their means and an abortion would alleviate their stress.
Inside of my head I thought, “Is that it? All you need is a set of wheels and you won’t have an abortion with your second child?” So instead of blurting what the arm of the flesh wanted me to proclaim, [remember how I’d blown it] I rerouted my thinking and as an alternative offered them another set of thoughts.
I asked if they could give me some time to get my thoughts wrapped around what they were facing and that I’d really like to help, but I wanted to make sure I could. “Give me maybe two days max, before you guys decide to do anything, ok?” To which, surprisingly, they agreed.
Back at the center I worked at I asked the executive director John McCastle if I could have the 1993 Mercury Villager van that had been given to the ministry as a donation [to sell later for funds back to the ministry]. I told him how a young couple saw the need to have an abortion of their child because they could not afford a second car. He immediately agreed with one small provision – the van needed serious work.
I remembered that the area center, which referred this young couple to me, had a small and budding church across the parking lot. I had just been introduced to Pastor Bobby Petit of Timber Ridge Community Church the same week. Without hesitation I called him and explained the situation. He told me about guys who worked as auto mechanics in their men’s ministry and he’d ask them to help. He called me within an hour sharing the men wanted to fix the van at their expense.
I called the couple and told them I needed two solid weeks to present them a gift that would change everything for them. Trusting me, they again held off a decision to do anything and on Christmas Eve morning I met them, along with the staff at the local pregnancy center, Pastor Bobby and some of the mechanics who volunteered and we presented Mark & Amber a seven passenger van to meet their needs.
Coated in tears the young couple accepted our gift and with changed hearts and minds agreed to go ahead with the pregnancy of their second child and give their family a fighting chance.
It was no different for Thomas over two thousand years ago with Jesus Himself. Having not seen Jesus risen like the other disciples had done Thomas exclaimed, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe. [John 20:25b]” Realizing Thomas needed to see it before he could believe it Jesus met him a week later head-on and said, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe. [John 20:27b]” With that, Thomas was moved beyond his skepticism and believed. Jesus met Thomas where he was at.
I learned to meet Mark and Amber where they were at and as a result – they believed.