On the surface, it certainly may seem this way; a young person who starts out on the wrong road in life often stays on it, at least until something (or someone) intervenes to help them change.
But the Bible reminds us of a very important truth: God is able to change the heart of the most rebellious person, even a hardened criminal. Not long ago, I met the warden of one of our toughest prisons, and I was thrilled by the stories he told of prisoners whose lives had been changed because of their commitment to Jesus Christ.
But it’s true not just with hardened criminals. God is in the business of changing lives — and it happens all the time. Not every person who’s on the wrong road will repent of their sins and follow Christ, but some will. King Manasseh was the most evil ruler God’s people ever had, but eventually he repented of his sins and his life was changed. The Bible says, “The Lord was moved by his entreaty and listened to his plea” (2 Chronicles 33:13).
Your work is difficult, and at times I’m sure it’s discouraging. But don’t become cynical, and don’t just focus on those people you can’t seem to help. Instead, see your job as a responsibility from God, and every day ask him to use you to make a difference in someone’s life. The Bible says, “Listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end you will be counted among the wise” (Proverbs 19:20).