One of the things that I loved most about the many years that Todd and I spent in youth ministry was the enthusiasm and passion of the students that we worked with. Not only was my hope for the future restored every Sunday and Wednesday, but my vision was brought back into focus over and over again by teenagers who loved Jesus without finesse or pretense and served him willingly, laying the random contents of their spiritual pockets out there for all to see and asking God to make something out of what they had to offer.
It was beautiful and contagious. Never in my life have I felt freer to risk, to try, to engage, or to fight for what I believed in. Linked arm in arm, we and “our kids” shared a common goal, a present and future destination, the Kingdom of God.
Lions? Tigers? Bears? They didn’t spook us! Not really.
We weren’t exactly sure what it would take get where we were going or what it would look like when we arrived, but we knew that if we followed the path that God laid before us, he would help us and see us Home.
Inexperienced, but determined, our hearts pounding with anticipation, we kept our eyes open for the enemy’s attacks at every turn and stood our ground in every battle. Happy to share what little we knew with those who would listen, we increased in number by meeting needs and sharing the Good News.
The teen years are a jungle, to be sure, but, when you travel with friends of like mind and purpose, they can be a happy time of bonding and memory making as well as serious training and preparation for the real danger that lies ahead, the meadow.
The open meadow of young adulthood blooms bright with promise and possibility. The path that winds through it is easier to travel in many ways, but a little obscure if you’re not paying attention. Of course, it’s hard to pay attention, keep the pace, hard to feel the urgency of the mission when surrounded by such beauty, such temptation.
What was the hurry, again? You ask yourself, the heady scent of freedom dulling your senses. Delighted, you slow your steps, gathering every lovely diversion that blooms along the path into an apathy-laced bouquet all your own, and the enemy chuckles.
Before you know it, you’ve wandered far. You are sleepy, lethargic.
A little nap wouldn’t hurt, now would it? Just a small one?
If you’re asking this question right now, allow me to answer. Yes, it would hurt. A lot!
Remember, you aren’t the only one on this quest. The rest of us, we need you. We miss you. We love you, and we are conflicted. We’re not sure whether it’s better to press on without you or expend all of our energy trying to coax you from your sleep. Either way, we can only do so much.
That’s why I’m praying for snow, an unmistakable work of the Holy Spirit in your life, one that startles, awakens, and refreshes you by any means necessary, one that picks you up and points you in the right direction once again.
Come on and go with us, friend. We have a Kingdom to seek!