Column: We Are Tools In God’s Patient Hands

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 23, 1998

By Harold Keller / L’Observateur / January 23, 1998

Every year, in the month of October, one week is set aside for drugawareness programs in all schools. It is called Red Ribbon Week. Redribbons are distributed to remind people of the drug problem and, also, totry to find a solution.

Last October, I was invited to speak at an elementary school in anotherparish. I reluctantly accepted after I was told to limit my talk to eightminutes. (My thoughts at this time were: Drive all that way for eightminutes? What will be accomplished?)On the scheduled day of the trip, my wife and I went to the school. Thestudents and some parents attended and a program was presented withmany speakers, including myself.

As my wife and I entered the auditorium, I introduced myself to a fewparents and, on the way out, again spoke to a lady I had met earlier.

Last week, I received a call from a man who wanted to meet with me. Hewas addicted to crack and he just wanted to talk. I told him to call in thenext few days when he had time to drive to LaPlace. Three days later, awoman called and asked if I could meet with her brother-in-law. (Herbrother-in-law was the same man who had called me a few days earlier.)

She said that her husband and his brother (the man addicted to crack)wanted to see me. I arranged a meeting the next night at McDonald’s inLaPlace at 8 o’clock.

On the night of the meeting, we spoke casually for a few minutes. Theyoung man with the drug problem wanted help. The older brother said, “Ilove my brother. I’ll do anything for him.” He shared his concern for hisbrother and, as he spoke, I detected he had been drinking. My focus thenturned to him.

“Do you have a drinking problem?” I asked. “Yes,” he admitted, as his wifeseemed to agree silently. We spoke for a while. I offered the brother withthe drug problem an opportunity to go to a drug treatment center, but hewasn’t interested.

The two men each had three children. I spoke to them about theresponsibilities of a husband and father. I asked the older brother how hewould rate himself as a husband on a scale of 1 to 10. “Three,” he said.

“How about as a father?” I asked. “Two or three,” he shot back. I thenasked him how he would rate his wife as a wife and mother. “Twelve,” heproudly said. His wife smiled. I asked the same questions to the youngerman. His answers were “five” as a father and husband. He gave his wife an”eight.” I reminded both of them that according to their ratings, they werefailures as husbands and fathers.During our conversation, I asked what made them decide to call me. Thewoman said that she met me in October at an elementary school. “Youcame up to me twice, and I knew there was a reason for it,” she said. (Thiswas also the same school I hesitated to go to.) I was reminded how Godworks in mysterious ways and He’ll use you the most when you leastexpect it.

As we were ending our meeting, I asked them if they believed in God. Theyall said “yes.” Then I asked, “If any of you died tonight, would you go toheaven or hell?” They seemed puzzled, but all agreed they hoped to go toheaven.

Have you ever heard the term “born again”? I questioned. “Yes,” the olderbrother answered. “My oldest brother became a Christian four years ago.He quit drugs cold turkey and gives all the credit to God. He now readsthe Bible daily and goes to church regularly,” he continued. Smiling, I said,”I now realize why we’re here tonight. It’s because of your brother’sprayers.” One of the men said, “Not only his prayers, but my mother praysfor us all the time.”We held hands, prayed, and promised to keep in touch.

Now I know why God allowed me to speak at that school in October. Healways has a reason when He opens a door for us to witness. Our only jobis to obey Him.

Speaking at that school and meeting the lovely lady set up the meetingwith the two brothers. I thank God for that privilege.

Harold Keller is a regular columnist with L’Observateur.

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