Lisa and I are grieving over the struggle of one of our teenage men. He is living on the precipice between having a meaningful life and social oblivion. He is in jail now having made a rash mistake.
Due to God’s mercy and grace, we’ve seen many people come to the Lord, changed hearts and changed lives, but I always grieve for the ones who turn away. I’ve seen the Holy Spirit work miraculous wonders but the greatest by far is the changing of the human heart. How God can work in spite of my, and the Church’s, human flaws is beyond me.
When I read in the Bible how some turned from Jesus it’s just hard for me to comprehend (John 6.60-70). How can they walk away? How can they choose what the world offers over surrender to Christ? But I have seen it with my own eyes.
But of course, the point is that discipleship costs us something… self-sacrifice is required.
Lisa and I grieve when we watch people that we love self-destruct, or choose destruction over love. Why do they do it? We’ve seen young people’s lives fall off the rail when they were doing so well… why? How?
It took me a long time to get it through my head that the promise of eternal life is not much of an incentive when all you know of life is pain, suffering and emotional misery. Promising that you’ll go to heaven when you die is not enough for many of our young people. They have to feel the hand of God in their lives now. They have to know that God cares enough about them to get personally involved. Somebody’s got to get their hands dirty. Somebody’s got to get in the trenches with them. Somebody’s got to lay down their lives for them.
Because in the end, everyone must choose for him or herself. The message we bring may look good, it may feel good, it may sound good… but is it real? Does it help me in my life right now, in my present circumstances?
When it comes down to it it’s a gamble. And you have to surrender everything for it to pay off. To do this goes against human nature and culture. It’s a leap of faith. I remember when I came to the Lord, fifty years ago, everything about the gospel was made clear to me, but did I really believe it? Did I choose to believe it? And it required a leap… and I’ve never looked back.
For many of us it takes a long time standing at the precipice to decide to take that leap… and some of us walk away. But we have to choose it. We make the choice. We have to want it. We have to somehow believe that there is a Way out. And so many of our people struggle with this. God makes a Way where there is no way. Like Peter we have to realize that there is nowhere else to go to have life. We have to choose life.
The promise of eternal life is the promise of all abiding love, the promise of everlasting friendship, the promise of eternal belonging. We can have, and share, those things right here and now. Our young friend can have these things; but they require sacrifice, they require a leap of faith.
This is what gets the attention of the young people with whom we work: God’s presence in the midst of their struggle. So, we labor and labor but we do not lose hope. Please pray for our young people who live on the precipice of life and death… that they would choose Life, so that despair may be transformed to joy.
4 thoughts on “January 2022”
Deer Chris and Lisa , I’m so sorry you’re going through this. Is there anything that those of us at Faith Methodist Church in St Anthony can do to help this young man? Would cards or letters help? What about restorative justice programs, are there any that would be appropriate for him? I look forward to hearing from you and in the meantime will keep you in my prayers.
I do regular zoom visits with him and he is fighting depression and discouragement. Please pray for him to surrender everything to God and to embrace Jesus and the life he holds for Lawrence.
We will pray. Thank you for reminding us of the urgency.
Praying with you right now! May God intervene in this young man’s life, show Himself to be mighty and strong and trustworthy. And may God strengthen your arms as you minister and serve. Praying Ephesians 1:18-23—“For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.”