During my first year of community college, I befriended a girl named A. She was one of those people that was always smiling. Always kind. Always positive, respectful, thoughtful, and affirming. We took our first American Sign Language class together and I enjoyed every time that we were paired for practice. I can still remember the way her eyes would light up when she mastered a new sentence.
Within the first few weeks, I learned that she was raised Christian but didn’t really understand the Bible and wanted to. I was a part of a campus ministry so invited her out to join us sometime. She gladly agreed.
I can’t quite remember what we were studying together that day, but probably for some big ASL test where we had to sign in front of the whole class. I don’t remember what we were talking about at first, but the conversation eventually turned spiritual and moved into our desires to grow as Christians, represent God well. Amidst this, she made a comment in the most nonchalant of tones: “Yeah, that’s why I want to grow to become a better person. Because if I was, then God wouldn’t have killed my dad. But anyways, we just have to keep growing.”
She said it without a hint of sarcasm, sadness, or heartache. Just stating a fact. As simply as she would have commented on it raining outside.
She didn’t imply she wanted me to contradict her. In fact, she just kept studying, asking me the sign for another word.
It was such a small comment. Should I just let it go?
After silently asking for courage, I asked, “Hey, can we talk about what you said for a moment? I want to show you something.”
I shared with her the story I’ve known for as long as I can remember. Of a blameless man losing all that he held dear by the hands of the devil. A man crying out to God for answers and God not being displeased with him for doing so (Job 42:7). A man who lost everything not due to his sins but because the devil was trying to disprove love between God and humanity. A man who God trusted.
For the first time in our friendship, A was quiet for the entire conversation. As I shared Job’s story, she turned pages with me and looked at me, but otherwise showed no sign of her reaction. As I explained the great controversy between God and Satan, her eyes took on a layer of glass.
I finished. “Does that make sense?”
She nodded. Then, “But why did my pastor never tell me this? Why did he say it was my fault for not having faith?” She started to cry.
I took her hand, “I’m so sorry he said that. That’s not why your daddy died. I’m so sorry you lost him. Know that God didn’t allow Him to die to punish you. It happened because we live in a sinful and pain-filled world.”
She smiled and said that she’d just wished she’d known this story earlier. She thanked me so many times, that day and a few days afterwards. We continued our studies for awhile before we went separate ways. I still think of her sometimes.
It was such a little thing. A one-sentence comment from her. And it was a little thing for me. It took me maybe 20 minutes to explain the basic premise and conclusion of the story of Job. It would have been easy to ignore her eyes, focus on our test, and move on. But what was a little thing to me was a huge thing for her.
What is a little thing to us can literally change the lives of others. The truth that we know, the awareness of reality that we blessedly have—it can make all the difference.