There Is Hope

Giving a Presentation to Planning 10 students

The chatter around the room was vibrant and lively as dinner dishes were being cleaned, a board game was being set up, music blared and the TV was buzzing with distractions.  In the midst of all this noise, I was able to experience a holy moment.  A moment of peace.  I wish you could have been there.  That you could have heard the voice of the young lady as she shared the story of her life with me.  A voice that matter of factly told me of things that made my heart ache and grieve the childhood that she had missed.  I wish you could have looked into her eyes as I did when she told me about her views on life as a result of living with so much pain.  She was self admittedly confused about what she should believe about the world. I didn’t know what to say, but simply asked “How is it that you can ever smile?”

She looked at me and simply said.  “Despite it all, despite what happened.  And even though I haven’t always helped the situation with my choices, my mom has always loved me.  When I think about all that she has been through it helps me to see that there is hope beyond the moment.”

Isn’t that beautiful?  I was deeply moved. Even though this young person is pretty conflicted in her view of God, I felt as if Jesus used her words to speak to my soul.  I reflected about the situations in my own life where things were painful and I felt despair and depression much more clearly than joy and life.  I thought about some of the choices I had made during that time and how I felt alienated and alone because I was ashamed to approach Him in the midst of my brokenness. And yet, he did not come into the world “to condemn the world but to save the world through him.”  (John 3:17) After all, Jesus has been through a lot.  He was despised, rejected, falsely accused, mocked, beaten, scoffed at and condemned.  If he can get through that and still smile, he is worth watching and being inspired by.  We just have to keep our eyes on him.

This young person and I may not have many relatable life experiences, but when we share our stories with each other we can learn more about coping with life and understanding God.

It reminded me of this quote from Henri Nouwen about life in ministry:

“We are not the healers, we are not the reconcilers, we are not the givers of life.  We are sinful, broken, vulnerable people who need as much care as anyone we care for.  The mystery of ministry is that we have been chosen to make our own limited and very conditional love the gateway for the unlimited and unconditional love of God.”

This is why our team does what we do.  We want to be in the places where young people feel safe enough to share meals, and their stories with us – even in the midst of a busy drop-in center.

- Danny Ferguson


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