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Never Beyond His Reach

Kathleen Kohler

"For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost."
(Luke19:10 NKJV)

When our son, Joe, spiraled into the world of drugs and gangs at age sixteen, I wondered, Where is God? Countless times I fell to my knees broken hearted, tears streaming down my face. I pleaded, "Lord, please watch over Joe, our precious lost lamb. Protect him and keep him safe. Lord, show him the way home."

Joe's choices plunged him into a frightening culture beyond our ability to reach him. Nothing we did could pull him back, but he never escaped God's watchful eye. Powerless, we watched as drugs and gangs choked out everything decent in Joe's life.

For six years, Joe wandered in and out of our lives, and away from the love and safety of our home. We continued to love him, and daily we prayed together and waited for him to emerge from the fog he was in. The turning point came one night when his dangerous lifestyle cornered him in a dark alley.

A rival gang member stood behind him, a revolver gripped in his hand, finger poised on the trigger. With a gun barrel jammed against the back of his head, Joe braced himself for the bullet. Penned in by buildings on both sides, there was no escape. He closed his eyes and waited for the shot.

Without warning, the gang member's arm went limp and fell to his side, still clutching the gun. After several futile attempts to lift his arm he said, "Get out of here."

Paralyzed by fear, Joe hesitated.

"Go on. Get out of here," the voice yelled into the darkness.

Joe didn't look back. He raced forward, half stumbling as he ran from the alley. Standing on a dark city street, his clothes soaked from sweat and drizzling rain, Joe realized the path he'd been racing down had nearly cost him his life. He'd been spared certain death, not by a rival gang member, but Someone greater.

For years we watched as God, compelled by His immeasurable love and mercy, pursued our son. The Lord followed him to crack houses, parties, gang activities, and behind jail walls. More than once during those years, we saw evidence of God's protective hand on Joe's life. Each new circumstance brought waves of fear, panic, and grief. Soon we realized the Lord controlled the outcome of every situation. We gained comfort and an underlying peace in the midst of the turmoil.

God knocked loud on Joe's heart that night in the alley. It changed his perspective and the direction of his life.

Although his journey led us down a path of anguish and heartache, there we encountered the God who pursues. His relentless love has the power to follow our wayward children no matter where they go. Even to dangerous places. Because I know God reached into an alley in the dark of night and spared our son, I worry less and trust Him more with life's daily events.

Prayer: Thank you Lord that you know exactly where my child is. Help me trust you in every circumstance and have the peace that comes from knowing you're in control.

**Note: "Never Beyond His Reach?" appears in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Devotional Stories for Tough Times, along with 100 other stories sure to provide hope and encourage you in your own struggles. Released October 2011, order your copy today from Barnes & Noble, or

© 2011 Kathleen Kohler