By Nick Stevens
In my most defeated time, a teacher said about Joe, "Don't waste your time on a kid like that. They're trash." On riding home, I pushed the button and there was silence. Just as I was going to push it again to get another station, a song came on the radio, "You don't count the cost. You don't count the sacrifice." Tears ran down my face, and I trusted God. I continued my relationship with Joe.
Joe was the boy whose life has made the biggest impact in my own. Now 22, I recently talked to him on the phone, and he was giving me advice! He was saying the things I always wrote and spoke to him about. I am forever engraved on his heart and his soul. I have known love, because Joseph is also forever engraved on my heart and soul.
I don't know how to write about a nine-year relationship in which walls of abuse, pain, and guilt were broken down with steadfast love, patience, kindness, and enduring compassion. In short, although Joe still has struggles, as we all do, God has used me and brought me to see the magnificent love He had for Joe and in turn for me. Our relationship is not just one story but a series of books. It contains hundreds (perhaps thousands) of miracles. Here are just a few.
Joe once made a request to get playoff tickets in an attempt to "test God." Unbelievably, tickets came! Joe, in shock, began to realize that God did hear his cry during the many years of physical abuse he suffered from his father.
Joe's mom wanted me to stay, but I so wanted to move away and "get on with my life." There was a voice saying, "Stop spending time with a 13 year old boy!" I sat on a bus and with my head down said, "How can she ask me to stay for Joe? She wants me to raise her child! Doesn't she know just how much I have given? Look how much I sacrificed!" And there, as I raised my head, was this huge stained glass window portraying Jesus on the cross. I was quite humbled and stunned! Yes, I realized God had made more of a sacrifice than measly me.
Joe and I took a one-week vacation. To this day, he says our week together was the best in his whole life. God was with us as He had been throughout our relationship, but the fun times, the sunsets, the talks were all a little brighter, a little richer. It was as if God was saying, "Your love has been pleasing in my eyes!"
Right now, however, I am dealing with another tough guy, Nick, who is 12. I am going through the dark time with Nick. I've known this kid since he was 3, but our relationship changed this summer when our hearts shared at a deeper level. As with Joe, there were many times of fun and caring, yet once the "deeper" talking began of his pain (and of God's love), the walls went up. I remember all the fun, and I wish we did not touch on the things we have spoken of. I want to go back to playing golf, pillow fights, and those kinds of things. Looking back, I see just how God blessed all those times together.
I want the walls to crumble, yet I can't do it. I want to control, and yet I am forced to let God control. Only God can eventually make it happen. Unfortunately, a part of me is in doubt as to what God can do, even though He did something so miraculous for me and Joe all those years ago (and continues to do in our relationship today).
I must have patience. I must pray. I must read the Bible. I ask for prayers for me during this time and for God to let Nick finally drop the walls, so we can move on! I know that past this dark phase, there is a shining light and our hearts will bond in a way that no one can separate--ever! In short, our love flourishes.
Nick Stevens is a teacher at a Christian School and is involved in building boys up. He enjoys seeing God working in his life and in the lives of those he loves.