Sunday, November 8, 2009

Speaking of Hope

"Praise our God, O peoples, let the sound of his praise be heard; he has preserved our lives and kept our feet from slipping. For you, O God, tested us; you refined us like silver. You brought us into prison and laid burdens on our backs. You let men ride over our heads; we went through fire and water, but you brought us to a place of abundance." Psalm 66:8-12
Relationships are complicated. As I sat through the main service for the 3rd time this weekend, I wrote in my journal the names of so many friends that I have been richly blessed with. Some I've known for years, others I seem to have just met. But the truth is that regardless of the names, the people closest to us have the ability to hurt us the deepest. Investing in others does that. It's a messy business.
"To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket- safe, dark, motionless, airless--it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable." - C.S. Lewis
My new job is to build relationships with the teens of our church. These kids are broken. They are hurting because of the things said to them by students, teachers, and even parents. My girls seem to all be struggling with finding their worth in boys. The boys mask pain with pride and attitude. Instead of life they are merely existing. They've already been hurt one too many times and so they close themselves off again and put up another wall. Do you know the question I've been asked the most in my eight weeks of full time youth ministry? "Why do you care so much about me?" Why is my care and concern so puzzling to them? Sometimes I become discouraged and wonder how I can possibly shake the shoulders of each and every one of them. How can I speak to every kid and find out every story? It's not possible. Even if I spoke to one kid every day of the year I still wouldn't have connected with all the students in our group. It's overwhelming.
But my hope is in Him. He is the one who knows their hurts. He is the one who sees each life. He is the one who holds them as they fall asleep. So I will pray, trusting Him to be all that we cannot be. Trusting him to heal their hurts and hoping in Him to heal my own hurts. After all, relationships can be messy... we are flawed. But thank God we have Hope. Thank goodness for that.
"Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him." Psalm 62:5

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