How can I get these kids to not just know what the right answers are to the right questions? How do I truly teach them how to love Christ and see him? As I came out of her room with tears stinging my eyes, I couldn't help but begin a dialogue with God. How can I get them to see who you truly are?
I could hear God whisper to me, "Now you know how I feel." It reminded me of a scene from Bruce Almighty where Bruce, who has been given the opportunity to be God for a time due to the fact he pridefully thinks he can do it better, asks God, "How do you make somebody love you without affecting free will?" God says, "Heh, welcome to my world, son. If you come up with an answer to that one, you let me know." There is a reason there is a saying which says, "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink."
I found myself longing, for a time, to be back in the "Bible Belt". A place where Christian friends were not a rarity, but the norm. A place where my sweet friend had just told me on the phone she could mention Jesus in her school classroom and where the majority of senior high school students chose scriptures to share as an expression of themselves.
Again, I could hear my Lord whisper to me, "Yes, but where would I be?" I knew the answer to that question as well. He would be in the place where he could do the most good, where people where the most sick, and where the sin was the most prevalent. Luke 5:32 (NIV) says, "I have not come to call the righteous, but the sinners to repentance." He would be here.
Here, in a community which is said to be 90% unchurched and in a state where the suicide rates are among the highest in the nation. Any correlation? When our new pastor arrived, in one of his sermons a month or so ago, he stated that he had never experienced a place which was any darker spiritually than here. I remember literally sighing a sigh of relief. It wasn't just me. Others could feel it to.
There is a battle going on here. Ephesians 6:12 (NIV) says, "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms."
So, here I am in a community where the world rules and where there is a palpable sense of the battle between the dark and the light. If nothing else, it strengthened my resolve to fight for these kids, because they are worth it. They are worth it to me, and they are worth it to God. I don't want to water down my faith and be someone that I am not to fit in. I also want to show these friends of my children what a Christian home looks like and what a Christian marriage looks like. I want to invite them to church. What if we are the only Christ they ever see or get to experience? These kids, and I mean all of them, should matter to me, because they matter to God. Isn't it just like God to make something that began as being all about myself and my children to be about Him and His children. Lord help me along the way, because it is not easy.
"Jesus answered them, 'It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.'" Luke 5:31, NIV