By: Tim Sader
Their young grow up in the open fields, then leave home and never return. (Job 39:4)
At the time I was sharing my life with my new neighbors the Rodríguezes the little church of misfits we were attending had fizzled out. One of the families we connected with at church was the Jones family. Ray and Donna moved to South Carolina from Texas with their son Brad and daughter Alicia who were near mine and my brother’s age. I got to know them better at church and youth on Friday nights and we became friends. Brad had recently dropped out of school so he was working on getting his GED and looking for some kind of job. Once he worked for my dad’s business when he needed to hire a helper for one job. A few times he got dropped off at our house so we could hang out for a day or two. We watched movies, played video games and listened to the Bose surround sound system because he was into audio video equipment. I was very awkward with girls and Alicia was a little younger than me so it took a while for me to have a friendship with her. We connected one night at a church lock-in where we were the only two who stayed up all night. She went school for a while but didn’t go long until trying home-school. That wasn’t her cup of tea either so she ended up dropping out and trying for her GED also. After I graduated her mom and mine would go out for Mexican food. That was my favorite food so I started tagging along and sometimes Alicia would come and we’d get to talk. She was a beautiful young lady; looked a lot like Angelina Jolie and could have been a model. After a while she stopped coming to lunch and was getting into all kinds of trouble at home. She was wanting to spread her own wings and could no longer deal with the rules first at school then at home. She felt like a caged bird and she only wanted to fly so she could be wild and free.
All kids go through this to some extent but for her it seemed far worse. She was growing up way to fast and waiting for college or marriage to be on her own would never work. Her parents used the as long as she lives here she will follow our rules mindset but she wanted to do it her way. Alicia found a way to get what she wanted. She got a full time job at Sonic Drive-In and next door to it was an apartment complex so she rented an apartment of her own. I cannot remember whether she had been emancipated but her parents saw her being responsible and gave her the space to fly. She was sixteen living on her own, soon she had a boyfriend who was in his early twenties and he moved in with her. All of this happened quite quickly probably in the space of a six month lease so these weren’t mature adult decisions. Many people thought her parents were irresponsible letting this happen but those who knew Alicia understand that it was the only way or they might lose her forever. As a matter of fact it significantly improved her relationship with them because they were more like friends. However they didn’t know or trust the guy she was living with not that he was bad to their daughter but thought he was a shady character. One night while Alicia was home alone his past caught up with her and his beautiful young lover took the fall. She put up a good fight as they pulled her down the stairs and into their car. Noone knows the horror she faced that night to pay a debt owed to a drug dealer. A day or two after she disappeared a man was fishing at the lake when he snagged something on his line. Come to find out it was Alicia and the only way her mom could identify her was the color of her fingernails because they had them done together. Everyone was shocked that something so terrible would happen to this young girl who could have done anything she set her mind to do. This prodigal daughter grew up way to fast but never was able to run back home after her life had been wasted (Luke 15:11-13). She broke the heart of Father, Mother, Brother, family and friends. This loss affected me like nothing else had; it made me thankful for all my loved ones and showed me to love them like they’ve already returned to my open arms.
In life there is no way to know when or where tragedy will happen and I don’t think we can ever be fully prepared when it hits close to home. The only comfort to be found when this happens is our faith in something bigger than us. On our own we see no reason for undeserving people to suffer at the hands of great evil. However unfair this may seem God is in control and He will not let evil of this magnitude go unpunished. The final authority is the Lords so there is a great benefit when we make Him our life.
Lord God help us to see you are the answer to every problem situation in our lives. You care when we shed tears of pain and rejoice with us when life is going smooth. When tragedy hits close to home help us to be grateful for the parts of life that are a blessing from you. Be with us Lord like you said you would and protect us from the evil in the earth that accuses you for causing it. Help us to be full of you so that we can have comfort even when our world is falling apart. In Jesus Name, Amen!
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No one lights a lamp and hides it in a clay jar or puts it under a bed. Instead, they put it on a stand, so that those who come in can see the light. Luke 8:16