By Melanie Kauffman
When I was in sixth grade, I befriended a boy who for privacy’s sake I’ll call James. The early years of our friendship were pretty typical for a couple of pre-teens, but as we got older it became apparent that James was a bit of a lost soul. I entered our tumultuous teenage years with a steadfast faith in Jesus, but James was not at peace. Year after year, he was burdened with feeling like he didn’t belong, he wasn’t loved, he would never get a hold on his anger, and he would never be content with his place in the world.
I told James about the peace I had found in the Lord, and every now and then he would consider if Christianity was for him. But as so many of us have done, he continually turned away and focused on worldly distractions. Even when he stumbled upon Christian music he enjoyed, he didn’t want to listen to it for fear of being overheard and questioned about his beliefs. The years went on, and his heart remained troubled.
This past July, James went on vacation and discovered a Christian radio station we don’t get in Pennsylvania. He texted me joking that he’d found “the Jesus channel” but that he really did like the beats and it was all good music. He quickly fell in love with “Crown Him” by I Am They, and complained that it was seemingly going to be stuck in his head forever, almost as if “someone” wanted it there. The next day he asked me, not for the first time, if I thought that this religion could finally bring him peace. I answered, not for the first time, “Without a doubt.”
Since then James has begun reading Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis and plans to attend church soon. He still isn’t sure if this is “the right path for him” but told me he was glad I was writing this, as he wants his story told. We’ve been sending each other Christian music, and he was particularly touched by “Live Like You’re Loved” by Hawk Nelson – it literally brings him to tears whenever he plays it. It clearly had a lasting impact on him, because a few days ago he texted me, “I know God loves me. I know that much.”
Reflecting on this, I’m struck with how blessed we are to have a Savior who brings healing to the broken. I’ve always been fond of Philippians 4:7: “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” I’ve found that I have a new appreciation for it now, as I see a peace and contentedness in someone who was once so lost. Our God truly is a refuge to all that would come to Him, and His promise is one that can provide lasting peace.