Every now and then something happens in life that stops you in your tracks, and makes you examine how you look at yourself and the world around you. It makes you take notice of those things you’d normally turn a blind eye to or tune deaf ears towards. It causes you to change in unexpected ways.
This morning while listening to two young men talking, I made such a discovery.
The bus I ride each morning was quite full today. Many people were like me, and they were on their way to work. Now most mornings, most of us are lost in our own thoughts as we mentally prepare ourselves for the day that awaits us at the end of our bus ride, so usually the bus is pretty quiet. It was no wonder that I was held captive by these two young men’s conversation.
And held captive I was.
At first my ears were offended at their choice of words and the language they used. Being one who was taught to respect her elders, I couldn’t help but feel an outrage for their show of disrespect to me and the others sitting around them. It was as if they had no regards towards me or any of the other women in their presence or even the little one curled in his mother’s arms.
But as they talked. I listened.
I listened as they talked about other young men who had been in and out jail. I listened as they exchanged stories about prison life and the people they encountered there. I listened as they talked about the world they lived in that consisted of angry fists and heated words. A world colored by the deaths of other young people they had known. A world that had been as unkind to them as they were to it. A world overshadowed with deception that had taught them survival instead of the delight of peace. A world filled with street wise advice meant to make them men but had instead robbed them of their youth.
As the words flowed from their lips and filled that quiet bus I did what only I could. As they talked, I listened.
And as I listened, I prayed.
I didn’t pray that their mouths would be filled with sweeter words. I didn’t pray that they would be more respectful to others. I didn’t even pray that they would stop talking.
I prayed that their hearts would be changed.
For in changing their hearts, they would change their world. And their world would become better because they would become better.
And I know thats true because really listening to them caused me to really pray for them.
Those two young men may never know that I prayed for them. They may never know the impact their conversation had on my heart. But I’d like to think that God allowed me to be there at that moment for a purpose.
Someone needed to change. Someone needed to pray. Someone needed to be heard.
“…if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. ” 1 Chronicles 7:14