Our friend George taught us a lot about loving others and leading them to Jesus, always reminding us that “Everyone has a story.” This is his story.
George spent his very early years with his parents, but he was still young when they voluntarily surrendered him to foster care. During those years he experienced a great deal of abuse which he vividly remembered. He was a teen when his dad picked him up and took him to a kind of home for boys where he left him, never to be seen again. I asked George if he was saddened by that, but he said that under the circumstances it was the best thing his dad could have done for him. It was there that he was given work to do, that he learned useful skills, and developed a healthy work ethic.
George worked hard and did well. He drove truck, ranched, made money, lost money and made it again…somewhere along the line he met God, and it was then that he came to understand what it meant to be fully loved and accepted.
One could easily become embittered growing up the way George did, but instead hanging onto the injustices he suffered, his ministry to others was a reflection of God’s goodness toward him. Besides bringing kids to camp every summer, George and his wife took in over 120 foster children. He remodeled his house, creating small bedrooms off the hallway of their home that allowed them to take in as many children as possible while still conforming to state requirements for foster care.
Foster parenting was not without its hardships. He lost his own daughter during those years, shot by one of the foster boys. Even so, George didn’t give up on loving and leading those who, like himself, would be tender toward the grace of God, testified through the life of an ordinary man.
On the wall of his home hangs a quote by Forest E. Witcraft.
A hundred years from now it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove… but the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child.”
George was right. Everyone does have a story. The most important part of the plot is whether their life has intersected with the Savior, and what they choose to do when they meet Him?
George chose to follow Jesus, and to live like the redeemed man he was, allowing God to rescue the wrongs in his life and turn them into opportunities to minister comfort to others. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
God grant us all the grace to do the same. What is your story?