This post was not written by me. It's written by a friend who would like to remain anonymous.
While we were at the conference I got to witness one of the most incredible acts of redemption first hand.
As a church we teamed up with another local church and one of the kids from their youth group desperately needed a win in life. He had been going through some major issues, and my guess is that outside of the youth group kids he didn’t have a lot of friends. I think it’s very safe to assume that in most settings he was a social outcast.
Well on Tuesday night the conference hosts what a talent show where kids get to show case what they do best for three minutes. There were some incredible acts. Between Taylor Swift-esque talent, humor, and poems the talent of those kids was incredible. Then there was the boy. He signed up to be a part of the talent show and, if I’m honest, I thought, "Dude…don’t do that to yourself. All the eyes are on you, you shouldn’t set yourself up for failure."
His talent was the Rubik’s cube. He was a master; no one questioned that. The fact that he could complete the thing was impressive enough, but he could do it with ease. For the talent show, he wanted to do it blind folded.
I asked him, "How will you know how the colors line up?"
He said, “I just memorize the pattern."
I didn’t see how he could succeed.
He was the second act. The host messed up the Rubik’s cube, and the boy sat off stage studying it, tapping it, and staring at it.
It was his turn. He put the bag over his head, and then put his hands behind his back.
"No way!" people shouted.
It would have easily been the most impressive act of the night.
The audience watched in silence as his hands tapped and twisted. The video camera zoomed in on his hands as he worked on it.
Time counted down, and he failed. The host even gave him extra time, yet he still failed. We tried to comfort him with our applause, but you could see the defeat in his body language.
After the talent contest was over, we walked back to our dorm together. I asked him, "How are you doing?"
He said, "Not good. I feel like that was my one chance and I failed."
It was one of those moments in a kids life that could have been a huge confidence boost to a kid who needed it. Yet he failed.
Fast forward to the last night of the conference. The director was on stage at the beginning of the night and said, “I feel like we need to set something right tonight. I feel like we were close to seeing something amazing and just missed it. Is the Rubik’s cube kid here?”
“Do you have the Rubik’s cube with you?”
“Of course you do. Come on up here. We want to give you a second chance.”
The director interviewed the boy and asked him what he needed to make it happen. The boy said, "Compete silence." The director and the audience obliged. But it got really awkward. The director asked the boy if he was close; he wasn’t. It got really awkward on stage. So the director transitioned to offering, and the boy just sat there studying the Rubik’s cube. After offering, the director asked the boy if he needed more time. He did, so the boy went next to the drums, center stage and sat cross-legged. He tapped; he studied; he tried to memorize the Rubik’s cube. Meanwhile the show must go on, and the director interviewed the main speaker for the night while the boy sat cross-legged next to the drums behind them. Tapping. Studying.
The moment of truth came up. The boy stood, turned around, put the blind fold over his head, and placed his hands behind his back. The video camera zoomed in on his hands holding the Rubik’s cube. On the big screen for everyone to see.
You could have heard a pin drop as we watched. 900 people completely silent. Everyone pulling for this kid. And he nailed it! In forty seconds, the boy completed the Rubik’s cube blind folded and behind his back. The audience erupted. Standing ovation. Clapping. Cheering. Whistling. High fives. We celebrated his success. We even gave him a slow clap. He became an instant celebrity.
He got high fives on his way back to his seat. He was given a second chance, and was redeemed.
That’s what the church is supposed to be as we work with Christ to redeem those who desperately need second chances in life.