Dear Reader Friends, “Someone to Share” is a short story inspired by a true event. Are you comfortable talking to people about Christ? Do you know a Christian who always seems ready, without hesitation, to lead others to Christ? Meet Victor Penskell . . .
Someone to Share
by D.I. Telbat
Victor Penskell drove past the neighborhood park on his way home from work. Soon, he would have a child of his own out there—climbing on the monkey bars, zipping down the slide, playing tag with other youngsters. Linda was seven months pregnant. A little while longer and he’d be a father!
But the day was overcast, and there were no children running wild on that summer day. The park was empty except for a lone man seated at one of the picnic tables. The stranger appeared forlorn as he held his head in his hands. The scene seemed such a contrast to Victor’s own blessed life. God had allowed him to grow up in a loving family, and now he had a wife and a baby on the way. In the fall, he was to start helping teach Sunday school at church. Life had never looked brighter.
With this thought, Victor pulled off the street. That morning, he’d read Acts 3 about the lame man who’d sat by the temple gate, begging for money. The Apostle Peter had stopped to help the man that day. Though Peter had no money to give, he did have something to share—healing from God.
“Your Word has power, Lord,” Victor said as he left his car. He had no fear, only compassion. For years, he’d prayed for motivation to respond when others needed him. He wanted to have a natural response that could only be seen as God’s hand working in his own life. And over time, Victor had noticed his self-consciousness had been removed. Approaching people was now easy since he was no longer just thinking about himself.
Victor walked up to the picnic table quietly. The man didn’t seem to hear him, so he sat down with a loud sigh, his elbows on the table top behind him. In his peripheral vision, he noticed the stranger glance up then slide farther away to the opposite end of the bench.
For a few minutes, both men sat in silence as the clouds grew darker.
“Life ain’t easy sometimes,” Victor mumbled.
“Tell me about it.” The man grunted, and Victor snuck another peek at him. He was a few years older than Victor, unshaven, but if his classy shoes were any indication, he wasn’t homeless.
“Sometimes, there are highs,” Victor said, aware that he didn’t have to be in a desperate situation himself to be all things to all people. He simply had to care, and speak to the man’s heart. “And sometimes there are lows.”
“Got that right.” The stranger looked away. “And sometimes there’s the bottom.”
Victor nodded at the prompting of the Holy Spirit to speak plainly. The stranger’s response showed a need, that he needed to talk, or needed help. Their meeting was indeed no accident.
“There are no quick fixes to the lows of life.” Victor drew out a roll of breath mints and ripped at the wrapper. The man glanced to see what Victor was tearing. “Want a mint?”
The man’s eyes lingered, just a second, so Victor tossed the whole roll before the offer was turned down. The man caught the mints in his fist, then he flicked a mint off the roll.
“Thanks.” He tossed it back to Victor.
“Funny how the weather resembles our mood sometimes.” Victor sighed again, leaning back to watch the clouds. “Think it’ll rain?”
“Huh? Oh.” The man looked up, then bowed his head again. “Yeah, probably.”
“Well, it’s warm enough. A little rain wouldn’t hurt—to clean the air. Maybe storms in life are the same. God’s just trying to clean something out of us.”
“I don’t think God cares for us like that.”
“Well, I guess it’s harder to see God’s care when life seems to be going downhill.”
“If He cared, there wouldn’t be any downhills.” The man scoffed. “Downhills are all I know.”
“I have a friend in a wheelchair.” Victor paused, then spoke slowly. There was an urgency over each lost soul, but that didn’t mean he needed to speak without purpose. “He can’t feel half his body. You’d think he would see only the downhill days.”
“Nah. He figured out the purpose of life, even through his condition. And my neighbor just lost his wife in a car accident. Same thing. Broken, but he still sees the bigger picture.”
“He’s not angry?”
“Maybe there was anger, but not anymore. It’s been replaced by the thing that lifts him up. And another friend at church—cancer. Tumors everywhere inside her. She’ll be gone in a few months, maybe weeks. You’d think her bad days would get her down, but she told my wife her secret. Amazing. I can’t stop thinking about it. Turns out a lot of my friends have the same outlook. It’s kind of inspiring. Know what I mean?”
“What’s inspiring?” The man looked Victor in the face. The stranger had bloodshot eyes, like he’d been crying.
“You know.” Victor shrugged. “They have the secret to get through, one day at a time. Even on the worst days. Chokes me up sometimes. Such hardship, but such peace, and such motivation to keep going. I mean, that’s supernatural, isn’t it?”
“What’s their secret?” The man leaned closer. “The woman with cancer—what’s her thing?”
“You mean what keeps her smiling? What keeps her at peace when her circumstances are falling apart?”
“Well, maybe I shouldn’t say.” Victor glanced back at his car, a wild idea coming to him. But then again, sometimes God inspired wild ideas . . . “Maybe you should talk to her yourself. It’d mean more.”
“The woman with cancer?” The man frowned. “You don’t even know me and you want me to meet her?”
“Why not? Do you have another appointment or something? And by the way, my name’s Victor.”
Shaking his hand, Victor’s eyes strayed to Monte’s waistband. He could see the grip of a semi-automatic handgun.
“We already shared a roll of mints. In some countries, that would make us old friends. Come on, Monte. You need to meet Ellie.”
Victor stood and started walking toward his car. He hoped that God would prompt Monte to come after him. An instant later, the man was at his side.
“She lives around here?”
“A few blocks away. It’s about to rain, so we’ll take my car. Afterward, I’ll drop you wherever you want.” Victor reached the car. “When you go in to meet Ellie, make sure you leave that thing in the car.”
Monte touched the gun in his waistband. Neither man moved for a moment.
“I will.” Monte said, nodding.
“You’ll like Ellie.” Victor got into the driver’s seat and unlocked the passenger door. “Everyone always does.”
Climbing into the passenger seat, Monte drew the gun from his waist and set it on the floor near his feet. When he looked up, he met Victor’s eyes.
“Why are you doing this?” Monte had tears in his red eyes. “I mean, why would you do this?”
“We all have problems.” Victor started the engine. “There’s no shame in standing shoulder to shoulder with someone when you’re in need.”
Victor pulled into the street. He could’ve easily shared the gospel with his new friend, but in this situation, he thought it would mean more coming from Ellie’s lips. The forty-year-old mother-of-two had already been an unabashed witness for Christ. Now with cancer, she had a sense of urgency to share the gospel even with strangers. She would instantly recognize the pain in the suicidal man’s face. Ellie would know the Hope that Monte needed to hear about, and she’d speak of the only Truth that would set him free.
After introductions, Victor stood aside and silently praised God as Ellie gave her testimony to Monte. Some Christians, like this special woman, were such blessings that Victor was pleased to share their gifts with others. He prayed that Monte would receive the free gift now being shared with him.
You can find other short stories by David Telbat here.
NOTE: Thanks to David B for the kind review on David’s new novel Called To Gobi! Click the title link to read more about the book and for a direct link to the book on Amazon.
COMING UP: Join us next time for David Telbat’s Author Reflection, “5 Christian Concepts to Reach People,” a follow up to the above short story. And for the following post, we have another short story by David Telbat, “Falling to Pray.”