Paula and I were long time friends. We used to live on the same floor in a Senior Housing Building. We shared our problems and prayed about them.
Paula’s greatest problem and sorrow was her grandson. His parents had divorced when he was just a baby. Since both the parents did not want custody of the child, his aunt, Shirley, Paula’s daughter, adopted him. Harry was a problem child and soon his uncle started abusing him physically and mentally when Shirley was not around. This only made the boy become worse. He grew up to be disobedient, arrogant, rude young man.
He graduated from high school and became a certified electrician. The situation at home did not improve. Harry left his aunt, and moved in with Paula.
Although he professed his love for Paula, it was evident that he was using her. Paula could not control him and he fell into bad company and started to drink and use drugs. He could not hold a steady job, and came home at odd hours, ate all the food in the fridge, slept on Paula’s bed and in short made Paula’s life miserable. He always had a pathetic sob story and Paula was sympathetic and tried to help. When she had no money to give him, he would yell at her.
As the other tenants were complaining the administration had to advice Paula to send him out. Paula had to take out money from her savings to find him a place to live. But that did not solve the problem he was always pestering her for money.
I tried to counsel Paula to explain to him her predicament, that she has no more money and could not help him anymore. But she would never do that.
“You don’t understand. The poor boy had never had any happiness in his life and no one to care for him or love him. I am his only hope. I cannot abandon him,” she argued.
“You cannot be an enabler. He will never be able to stand on his feet if you keep on helping him,” I tried to plead with her, but to no avail.
Then one day Paula called me. She was frantic. Harry had crashed his friend’s car while intoxicated. The police had arrested him and put him in jail. She begged me for a loan to bail him out. I tried to tell her to leave him alone. The judge may send him to rehab and maybe he would get the treatment he needed and turn a new leaf.
“No. Please understand that he has learnt his lesson. He will be good and lead a good life. Please help me this once,” she cried. She sounded so miserable that against my better judgment I helped her and Harry was released. Paula convinced Shirley to give Harry home as he had repented and needed to have another chance and she agreed. The plan worked for some time. Soon Harry was back on alcohol and drugs.
Paula moved to another apartment and I lost touch with for some time. Then I met her at a senior luncheon. I asked about Harry and she wept.
“Shirley had to put him out. The poor kid has no work, no money, and no place to stay. In my apartment overnight guests are not allowed. I have given him all my savings. I have nothing more to give him but my tears and my prayers Even God does not seem to care.”
“No, Paula God does care. You have to give Him a chance. He cannot work when you are still clinging to your own resources. Surrender all to Him. Give Him control and He will do a miracle,” I said.
And God did respond. The next time I met Paula she was all smiles.
“God did work a miracle. Harry is changed. I am not sure how it happened. He comes to my church with his new girl friend. She works in an Addiction Treatment Center as a counselor and she has a great influence on him. I don’t know how to thank God,” she said.
“God is still in the miracle working business, Paula. But you have to learn to let go and let God. You cannot let your heart rule your brain. Guard your heart against misplaced affections, my dear,” I said.
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