Reverend Grant unlocked the door to the church fellowship hall. Soon it would fill with kids. He looked around and wondered if it was worth the effort. The Sunday evening youth program had been receiving more criticism than complements. “Too much money, too risky, and too much trouble,” were reasons given by Deacon Conroy to cancel the program. Discouragement was spreading. Was any good coming from the efforts of the volunteers?
Reverend Grant stepped into the sanctuary for a quiet moment. He closed his eyes and prayed, “God, show me what to do. This is your church; these kids are your creation. I leave it in your hands. Amen.” By the end of the prayer, chatter and laughter roared through the air. Kids from five to fifteen were being seated, eager for the snacks they had come to expect. As Reverend Grant helped serve the drinks, greeting each child, he noticed a few regulars were missing.
All at once, there was a hush as the Brown twins burst through the door, almost out of breath. “He’s been hit,” said Lucy. “Hurry, Rev. Grant. It’s Mikey,” cried Lisa.
“Not Mikey,” Rev. Grant whispered. He was the one kid they had hoped to reach. No one knew his whole story, except that his dad had walked off and left the little seven-year-old and his mother last Christmas. He rarely spoke and some kids teased him.
Mrs. Grant had run ahead of him when he saw Mikey lying in the road, hit by a young girl in the parking lot. She was crying, saying over and over “I didn’t see him. I looked all around me. He just came out of nowhere. I’m so sorry.” Rev. Grant knelt down by his wife who was holding Mikey. A former nurse, Mrs. Grant blurted orders to those who were now standing around, forming a circle.
Later that evening, Rev. Grant arrived at the hospital in time to hear the doctor tell Mikey’s grandmother that he would be O.K. No serious injuries were detected, just bruises. As he was leaving, Mikey’s grandmother caught him in the doorway. He had been expecting a confrontation with the family about the accident. The youth program would surely be blamed and be done away with forever. But Mrs. Jackson quietly took him aside and said, “I just wanted to thank you for what you do. I don’t know how much you know about his situation, but Mikey has had a rough year. All he looks forward to is Sunday evening. He runs home to tell me what he learned in class and repeats the songs perfectly. Again, thanks.”
Rev. Grant didn’t quite know how to respond. She wasn’t angry. She had thanked him. He left the hospital, now ready to face his opposition with courage.
Monday morning, the phone calls began. First, a deacon, then a parent. On and on, the same questions and concerns. Then came the call he hadn’t anticipated. “Rev. Grant, can you please come to the hospital right away? It’s Mikey,” his grandmother cried. His heart sank as he hung up the phone and headed out the door.
He stepped into the waiting room as the surgeon introduced himself to Mrs. Jackson. She took Rev. Grant’s hand and said, “This is Mikey’s pastor.” She held tightly as the doctor explained that Mikey had a tumor that needed immediate surgery. He went on to describe the procedure, then added “It’s a good thing you brought him in when you did. It could have become more complicated. We will schedule it for tomorrow morning, so there shouldn’t be any problems before then.”
As he left the room, Mrs. Jackson and Rev. Grant looked at each other, each realizing what this meant. The accident could have saved Mikey’s life.
“I don’t know what to say,” she stuttered.
“I do,” smiled Rev. Grant, adding “Do you mind if we pray?”
“Here?” she asked.
“Yes,” he said, then prayed a beautiful prayer of thanksgiving and protection for Mikey.
After the surgery, Rev. Grant slipped into Mikey’s room. “Hey, Mikey. I brought you something,” he said as he held up a posterboard colored with the signatures and messages from all the kids at church.
“Is that for me?” Mikey asked quietly.
“It’s all for you,” he replied as he handed him a bouquet of brightly colored suckers.
Mikey just smiled as a tear ran down his cheek.
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