Shakurah neared the school on the outskirts of her village. Fatigued from her long walk, she slipped into the classroom, late again. She may have avoided her teacher’s glare, but she would not be able to avoid punishment.
Poverty Taints Teen’s Heart
Sixteen-year old Shakurah grew up in a Christian home with godly parents, but life wasn’t easy. Her father struggled to find regular work, and her mother had a heart condition that required continual—and costly—medical treatments.
Shakurah hated being poor. She longed for nice clothes and a better house.
Unfulfilled desires for material goods blinded Shakurah to God’s goodness. Instead of seeing His many gifts in her life, she only saw what she didn’t have. Shakurah escaped feelings of inadequacy by pursuing pleasure with her friends. She rebelled against her parents, who modeled contentment and trust in the Lord and brought them grief.
Discontentment followed Shakurah every morning as she walked miles to school and every afternoon when she walked miles back home. Occasionally she secured a bus ticket, but it was an infrequent luxury. She tried hard to make it to school on time, but it was difficult without transportation.
Pastor Sees Shakurah’s Struggle
Whenever GFA pastor Varin was around, he sensed Shakurah’s disinterest in spiritual things. Her parents faithfully attended his church, and he knew the teenager was pulling away from them. Constantly praying for Shakurah, he looked for ways to encourage her in the Lord.
One day, when Pastor Varin was arranging for a gift distribution in his community, he thought of Shakurah and her long walk to school—a bicycle would be a great help.
Eyes Opened to God’s Goodness
At the gift distribution, Shakurah was shocked to hear her name called. Thankfulness tumbled from her lips at the unexpected gift.
Every morning became a fresh joy for Shakurah as she mounted her new bicycle, something she could have never afforded on her own. Tardiness became a thing of the past as she zipped across the almost 4 miles to school. The tangible gift had an even more significant impact on Shakurah, who realized Jesus cared about the desires of her heart.
“After receiving the bicycle, now I have no trouble to reach school at the right time,” Shakurah said. “I am not worried about the bus fare, and my teacher is not giving punishment … I realize that it is Jesus who provided this gift for me.”
As Shakurah trusts Jesus more and more, her relationship with her parents is improving, too, as she learns from their example what it means to follow Jesus. Seeing God provide for her needs has been the catalyst to embrace her parents’ faith as her own.
“Before I was not strong in my faith, but nowadays I am learning to trust Him more and to pray for my every need,” Shakurah said. “I obey my parents and help them in their work. Through this gift, my faith increased, and I am encouraged to pray for my every need.”