Monday, June 2, 2008

Turning Evil into Good

There are defining moments in all of our lives. We who love the superhero genre accept this as part and parcel of every superhero origin.

In Alan Moore's Batman: The Killing Joke, the Joker says to Batman - "You had a bad day once, am I right? I know I am. I can tell. You had a bad day and everything changed. Why else would you dress up like a flying rat?"

I have an online friend who's father was an abusive alcoholic. A brute of horrific proportions. One day after having years of martial arts training, his father began beating him and it came to his mind that he could kill him on the spot. Literally. He chose not too. He made a decision and now helps children go through the toughest stages of their lives - High School.

"Do not fret when evil men prevail -it leads only to harm."

I understand this. I have had to learn it the hard way. And, sad to say, I have been on the wrong side of the equation at times.

But evil can be transformed into good; pain into power for healing.

My friend now uses his mental and physical prowess to help others. His wound is not his defeat. It is common for the abused to stay a victim and not gain victory, but I believe God has greater plans for our pain (even if it just to say "I saw the person I never want to become. Ever.")

Today I saw God's work on a young single mother. She wears a promise ring and has a young man who wishes to marry her. He's been a friend for years and is very gracious.

Only one thing prevents her: he has not given his life to Christ.

I hope he will. I think he's on the right track. He's got a good open heart. We're praying for him.

But what does this have to do with turning evil to good?

I said "young single mother", right? Let me re-phrase that.

She's a head-turning girl with a bow-shaped mouth and milk and honey complexion. Nearly four years ago she was hanging around a pool hall and was forcibly impregnated by a male acquaintance. His lust overrode everything. He professed a desire to marry her; he's fortunate he did not go to jail.

She could have decided to have an abortion and not one person would have argued. But I saw something unusual in this, and in counseling, she agreed with me.

"I find it strange that this one incident has turned into pregnancy, don't you?"

"I've been thinking that too."

I pointed out that she might want to go through the Bible and find all the unusual, miraculous pregnancies. She did. A few weeks later, she said "I've decided to have the baby!" I rejoiced at her courage. It was difficult, but she has a very understanding family.

And today that boy aged three was sitting his mommy eating in McDonald's. (I had seen him previously in the same place some 10 months earlier with his grandma, so I wasn't overly surprised.)

But as I was greeted by a hug and caught up with her, she told me about a young man who wanted to marry her. I noticed the small ring on her finger. "Its just a promise ring. We're thinking about next year some time," she said. "But he's not a Christian, so we're not engaged."

I was floored. They were going to have premarital counseling, a pastor overseeing this, and if he does not become a follower of Jesus, no-go.

She was gentle and wise and forthright with this information. No gooey idealistic gas.

Now, that's miraculous if you know single moms and their situation. There is a sense of desperation, of incompletion. Not her. I agreed fully with her - the jail I teach at is some few hundred yards away (yeah, its THAT McDonald's) - and shared that "Men need to fear God. They need to know that He's bigger than them. It is a comfort to them and women they live with.

"God is a Bear Who Loves us - and will give us a growly hug when we need it."

She smiled at that. She knows she is safe if she obeys Him and listens to His Word.

She isn't going to marry based on her fears but on her heartfelt desire for a godly man. God is good and has been good to her when she was in the worst situation of her life.

She knows Jesus now. The Man she can trust. And she isn't going anywhere without Him.

As I said, evil can be turned to good. But the transformation happens when we learn Who to trust and let Him fix the situation.

"God causes all things to work together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose."

Amen.

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