I am a youth pastor. It’s not just what I do – it’s who I am, or more accurately, it’s who Christ is in me. I love students. The ‘breath of fresh air’, the passion, the youthful desire to see things better than they are, the potential to make them better… there is just so much ahead of them to look forward to.
But sometimes, there is so much stacked against them, that they give up. Their optimism is jaded and shaded and altogether quenched. Many students seem to hold a hostility toward anyone outside their tribe. But often, if we look past the hostile veneer, we will find hurt and broken souls in need of the love of someone who can help them to the Healer.
Not the mock-concern that “puts up with them” until they “grow out of it”, but real love that will work to see behind the hollow glares. Many students just need someone to give them a chance.
For some reason, I keep thinking of Jesus as a 12 year old. His family leaving Jerusalem. Left behind, unnoticed for quite some time. Only after several days of searching, did his parents find him. (Check out the end of Luke 2 for the whole story.) I’m afraid that spiritually speaking, many students today are being left by the church to fend for themselves, with no one taking notice of their spiritual abscence. But they can’t defend themselves from Satan’s craftiness the way Jesus did.
So, who will go look for them? Who will walk alongside them as they discover the One True God, Who loves them deeply? Who will bend in prayer against the hardening of their hearts that is slowly taking life from an entire generation?