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I’m gonna be a bit personal in this post. And, yeah, I’ve been kinda personal in past posts, but it might get a bit closer to me this time around.
As… Well, as whatever you wanna call me, I think I put some weight onto my shoulders. As a Christian, as a try-to-be leader, as a man, whatever… I think I put some weight on my shoulders that I try to carry, you could say, I guess.
You see, there’s my youth group, and I try to lead there. There’s all the younger guys, and the middle schoolers, and all the girls too, and they’ve all got their struggles of course. I mean, who doesn’t? I’ve got my struggles too, obviously.
Then there’s Fellowship of Christian Students, and I try to lead there. There’s some guys, and a lotta freshmen girls too. And I want them to love Jesus and follow Him, ya know?
And I’ve been told by my youth pastor (on more than one occasion) something about going into ministry, specifically for me, becoming a pastor. After all, that’s what I plan to do. He said that if there’s anything else I could possibly do with my life besides that, do it, unless I have an irresistible call from God on my life. Only for that reason ought I go on.
I felt God’s call on my life to it probably three or so years ago.
I was up in a room, and it just hit me. And as the night wore on, into the earlier morning hours, it was there. And, laying on the ground to go to sleep, there it was, and it was crazy.
And, this past summer, I felt God’s call even more specifically, as I sat weeping in the cafeteria of a school building in Holly, Colorado.
There was this rock in Holly this past summer when we went up there for a missions trip, and it got brought up to this stage. I was on the trip with several adult staff, some other high school student-staff members like me, and a bunch of middle schoolers.
I sat there, and my youth pastor talked about drawing a line in the sand. He talked about drawing a line in the sand and saying, “This is where it begins. This is where I get real, where I start taking things seriously. I’m drawing a line in the sand, and I’m never going back.”
And, one by one, students and staff alike went up and signed the rock, maybe wrote a thing or two on it. Meanwhile, one of the adult staff members played the piano and sang. And I wept. I sobbed. I wanted to be there for these students, to lead them, to guide them, to direct them. And I cried there at a cafeteria table before walking up and signing my name on that big old rock.
Then there’s the students around me that I try to lead. There’s the younger underclassmen, and the middle schoolers. I see some struggle with sin, some whom I doubt their commitment to Christ, their very salvation.
I see those who are passive, as I often am. I see those who won’t stand up, and it tires me. I see beautiful things begin that slowly fade off into a dark gray thing that is bearly recognizable. I see hope after hope unfulfilled. I see souls I thought might be close go back to their same old rut.
I get told my religion is misogynistic and homophobic. I seem to be avoided at times. I have no friend group in school anymore as I left it to try to minister to some social outcasts during lunch.
I try to be salt and light and speak up against evil but get shut down. I expect and am hopeful of help from other believers but retreat with little to none.
I share the Gospel but get no response, or the reply, “You’re a bigot.”
I see friendships die and people leave their faith.
I watch as those who once seemed so promising back again into the darkness, yet the darkness seems yet darker than before.
I feel emotionless and weary as friends bicker and don’t seem so much like a strong band of brothers.
I think about how that one kid might just commit suicide and nobody says anything very helpful. And I sit and only sometimes do a thing.
I get on my knees and grow tired, I lift up my hands and bob down as sleep takes over my body. My studies and devotion time appear to grow lax.
I’m reminded of Paul Washer’s words, “See to it that your knees are bleeding before you begin any sort of reformation.” Yet my knees don’t bleed.
I criticize myself, and I fail, and I act as a hypocrite.
I’ll sit at lunch and glance over at this girl and wish I knew what was going on with her. Wish I knew what was wrong, if anything.
I know there must be tears so often from so many’s eyes. And I am weak and weary and burdened myself. I speak words I hardly seem to really listen to. I mean, really listen to.
Jesus told the weary to come to Him, for the burdened to find rest in Him (Matthew 11:28).
I don’t want to elevate myself. I’m sick of that, and I’m sick of the thoughts in my head. I don’t want any of it. So much wears on my mind it seems. I do want to be honest though.
I kneel and I type and what comes out comes out. That’s not meant as an excuse, but as a statement, merely a statement, I guess. At least I guess.
I had another piece I was writing, about truth and tradition. About that kinda thing, but it didn’t seem right. So I think God brought me here.
I get weighed down much by my thoughts, by how I reason with things. And I see all these people, and are they even what burden me? I’d hope that’s it. And the sin, the gross sin skulking around.
I just wanna sleep sometimes. But then look, there’s that prayer list, strung up on the wall, with name after name of people who need God just as desperately as I do.
Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel,for which I am suffering, bound with chains as a criminal. But the word of God is not bound! Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.2 Timothy 2:8-10
A wise man recently reminded me via a blog post of his of the constant bombardment from Christian culture of all these books and articles full of so many opinions and takes on Scripture and advice. In his post, he instead tried to give a very minimal amount of his own words and a much larger amount of Scripture.
So, I don’t try to really give you advice right now, or a discussion of deep theology. I wrote, and it seemed to be right and I think it’s what God wanted, at least for the most part. Forgive me and may God forgive me if it was not.
Stay strong brothers and sisters, because this fight is real and this war rages on. We have won, though, and we are not alone. The darkness never will prevail. Light will shine through and light will win and has won. May we recognize this in our minds and our hearts and our lives.
And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.Galatians 6:9
Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.Galatians 6:2
Hold each other up and push on. Christ has not left you and He will not. The emotions, the pain, the heartache, move past it. Move on to thinking about God and Who He is. He is stronger.
“There is Love
That came for us
Humbled to a sinner’s cross
You broke my shame and sinfulness
You rose again victorious
Faithfulness none can deny
Through the storm
And through the fire
There is truth that sets me free
Jesus Christ who lives in me
You are stronger
You are stronger
Sin is broken
You have saved me
It is written
Christ is risen
Jesus You are Lord of all
No beginning and no end
You’re my hope and my defense
You came to seek and save the lost
You paid it all upon the cross
So let Your Name be lifted higher
Be lifted higher
Be lifted higher”
-“Stronger” by Hillsong Worship
Lyric source: LyricFind
It’s all in God’s hands anyway. I am but a broken, tired body He uses to do His will. At least that’s what I hope and pray for. He is all I have that really matters. He is everything.
Surely Paul could not “endure everything for the sake of the elect” with a lesser hope and realization.
All glory to God and blessings to you my brothers and sisters. Amen.
All direct verse quotations are taken from the ESV