The following story comes from Human Coalition – Pittsburgh.
Before the rush of the day set upon us, the mild mannered mechanic quietly approached our mobile medical unit. As he spoke, his voice gave way to years of wear and tear, a gentle mixture of kindness and hard living woven together in a lifetime of hardship. His denim trousers were deeply soiled by his hands that had wiped the grease from countless hours of turning wrenches and fixing engines. But he had another story. One that he felt he needed to share. A story that he carried inside for over 40 years.
He wasn’t our typical client.
We usually expected the young girls from the local high school to descend upon us as we set up our Stork Bus and readied for our weekly day of outreach. But this week was different. God always seems to have a particular plan and more often than not, it involves being flexible and being willing to just go along with it and see what happens.
We had prayed for God to go before us, to part the seas as we set out to provide our no cost pregnancy services to the women of our rural county. Every week looks different and this day was no exception.
God brought us Matt.
Matt began his inquiry with a mild curiosity of discovering who we were and what exactly we were doing here parked on the street with the doors wide open in this fancy Mercedes van. We politely explained to him our outreach ministry as his eyes took in the beauty of the van, calculating the value of the leather seats, the plush interior of such a nice vehicle and the expensive ultrasound medical equipment.
After a few minutes of idle chatter, Matt began to crack open a portion of his life story that seemed to have been sealed shut many years before. He spoke of the past, of the years that had gone by too quickly – they had passed by without enough time to sort them out.
“I wished there was something like this when I was a young man,” he began, “I would’ve really liked to have had something like this years ago when I was in school. These kids just don’t know how good they got it nowadays.”
“You have a story to share, don’t you Matt?” I inquired.
“Yes, I do,” he said dropping his head as his gravelly voice grew soft and his feet slowly shifted from side to side.
“Many years ago I knew a girl. She was my girl and I cared for her. She got pregnant and she didn’t want it. She wanted to get rid of it. But I knew better. I was raised to know better than to do such things. Life had value. I was taught to do the right thing. You know, do right by a gal if there was a mistake.”
“But she saw things differently than I did,” he said as he gathered his emotions. “I wanted to save my child. I wanted to fight for it, to prevent her from doing it, but everyone told me it was an endless battle. I was willing to do whatever it took, spend whatever it cost, but in the end, even my priest told me I couldn’t win. She could do whatever she wanted and I didn’t have any way of making my voice heard. It was her choice and her choice alone, apart from me.”
I could feel the frustration and the sadness swirling together in his story. Here he was, after all these years, experiencing the pain and the agony of losing a child to abortion. A boy of 17, reliving the torment of not being able to fix a brokenness, to make right a wrong, to have a voice in making a decision that involved the demise or the future of his unborn child.
My heart began to feel the weight of his pain until he shared his lifelong journey of pursuing the heart of God for forgiveness. We spoke of the forgiveness and the healing that only God can provide and how without the mercy and grace of God, true healing cannot be found. He humbly told me that while he knows that God has forgiven him, he finds it hard to accept the grace to forgive himself.
“The hurt never goes away…. I wish I could’ve done more,” he lamented, “While I know that I have a child that awaits me in Heaven, I just wish there were folks like you around back then that could’ve helped, maybe helped us make a better choice.”
We spoke of the true joy that can only be found in the forgiveness and mercy of God the Father through Jesus and how without Him we can do nothing. The joy that he has received has overcome the despair that was intended so many years ago.
“The world can offer happiness,” he professed, “but only the Lord can provide true joy. And that is what God has been showing me over these many years.”
We felt privileged to be a part of this man’s journey, to share in the story of a life marred by a crisis never intended. But as he departed, we shared a smile of joy, knowing that our presence provided an opportunity to allow the heart of this hurting man to feel the abiding love and forgiveness that can only be found in Christ.
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