I’m Just Not Ready Yet

Posted on by Heidi Brunsting

By Tim Butler, Director of City Engagement and Juvenile Justice Chaplain

“Pod A…any of your residents want to talk with the Chaplain?”  The guard at the admissions area was wearing an earpiece, so I could not hear the response of the unit staff.  But the expression on his face told me “No.”  Radio calls to the other 5 units received the same response…“No.”


            Jim, a new volunteer, and I were about to leave, but then the guard told us that the teen who was in an isolation room wanted to meet with me.  “He’s facing serious charges, so you have to talk with him in his cell.”  I had no problem with that, but I could tell Jim was a bit nervous, since it was his first time in the building!


            When we entered “Jacob’s” cell, he greeted us with a grin and said, “You prayed with me when I was here in September!”  But what I noticed more than his grin was Jacob’s left hand, wrapped in bandages and almost three times the size of his right hand.  Without my asking what happened, Jacob told us he had been shot.


            For the next 30 minutes or so, Jim and I listened while Jacob tried to convince us of his bravado and that “positive thinking” was all he needed to get through his pending trial.  “And Chaplain, I pray every night that God will get my case dismissed.” 


            Knowing he’d be transferred in a couple weeks to county jail when he turned 18, I took a direct approach and said, “Jacob, if I were in your situation with a bullet wound in my hand, and possibly facing adult charges, I’d take a hard look at my life.  A lot of things must be going wrong for you to be in the mess you’re in, and positive thinking won’t fix them.  Our sin not only puts us on the wrong side of the law and society, it puts us on the wrong side of God.  And no defense attorney on earth can plea bargain our case before Him.”


            Jacob quietly listened, but when I asked him if he was ready to accept Christ’s forgiveness and the new life He offers, regardless of what happens with his case, he said, “I’m just not ready yet.”  Another “No,” but this one carried a weight that’s far greater then declining a visit with the Chaplain…


            I know Jacob, and so many kids like him, are not beyond Christ’s power to save.   Thank you for being a part of the ongoing conversation with youth in our city and helping us share God’s story.  It's our honor to be the storytellers on your behalf who meet kids right where they are and give life to their story.


Providing young people in our community with the opportunity to make an informed decision to be a follower of Jesus Christ and become part of a local church.

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