Dan Borody was nervous to be evangelizing at the new Catholic elementary school in Sarnia, Ontario.
Equipped with 50 Scriptures for the children, Dan humbly expected Christ to speak through him and was confident in his ability to teach kids about the importance of regularly reading God’s Word. But what the Lord was about to orchestrate on that snowy day, Dan could have never fathomed.
Dan stopped in front of a tall man who was carrying a spray bottle and a large roll of paper towels. "Hi there! Which way to the grade 5 classroom?" He imagined the school janitor knew his way around the school building more than anyone.
“The fifth graders are going to meet in the library this morning.” The man answered. “It’s going to be a rough day…”
“Yeah, the snowstorm is getting really bad out there! It’s definitely going to be a rough ride home! ” Dan responded jovially.
The janitor looked slightly confused, but his face remained mostly emotionless as he pointed in the direction of the library. Dan, also confused, followed his guidance and shuffled towards the librarian’s desk.
Unsure why he had been directed to the school library instead of the pre-arranged grade five classroom, Dan decided to double-check the janitor’s information with the librarian herself. He dropped the stack of Scriptures with a thud, but the woman didn’t flinch.
“I’m here to present to the grade five students! I brought New Testaments for each of them. Am I in the right place? ”
The librarian slowly turned her eyes upward. Her gaze seemed distant, her face, solemn. “Uh, yes, sorry. Both Grade 5 classes will be meeting here shortly. You will have the chance to speak with the children then.” Her voice sounded shaky.
It was suddenly clear that the woman had been crying. Dan was hesitant to overstep any personal boundaries, but he decided it would be best to gently ask what was bothering her.
“I assumed they had told you.” The librarian shook her head sadly. “One of our fifth graders passed away last night. She was battling cancer.”
The librarian’s words hit Dan like a punch to the gut. He closed his eyes tightly, teeth clenched. "Oh Lord, how am I supposed to evangelize to a group of children who just found out their friend died? Why would you call me here today of all days? "
Dan’s desperate prayer was cut short as he noticed some of the students filing in to the room. Every child was still; most were crying quietly. They sat like sad statues on the library floor, heads low and legs crossed.
It wasn’t long before Dan found himself trembling in front of a room full of dazed grade five students. A deep sadness loomed over their sunken heads. One hundred teary eyes looked to him for comfort. Realizing tears were welling up in his own eyes, Dan knew that any words of consolation from his mouth wouldn’t make anyone feel any less downtrodden about the atrocity, so he turned to the Word of God.
“God brought me here today to share His words of comfort with all of you.” Dan flipped through various Scripture passages...Job 5:11, Isaiah 41:10, Hebrews 4:16, Psalm 23:4. God's voice of comfort was clear.
After he had given each student a personal Scripture, one of the teachers approached. It was obvious she had something on her mind.
“Hey, Dan? Thank you for coming here today; many of the students have said they are going to read their New Testaments faithfully. This must be God’s timing.”