Looking Hope in the Eyes

As I’ve mentioned in my previous writing, this last year has been a difficult one in many respects. It’s been full of highs and lows, heartache and grace and a lot of confusion, as I attempt to clean out some old garbage and replace it with Truth.

One thing I have come to terms with is while I’ve always suspected it, I’ve never fully embraced my white-knuckle fear of hope. It may sound kind of silly, but it terrifies me. Hope confuses me. But I am—or am at least trying—to learn to trust it. To look it in the eyes and stay.

A few weeks we had Young Life Club and I was responsible for giving the talk/leading the discussion. If I am being honest, I didn’t want to; I felt tired and ill-equipped.

When I’m struggling I often find it difficult to know how or what to say or not say when sharing with these kids I hold so dear. I strive to be honest, but it can be hard to feel like my struggles are valid. Many of the kids I get to walk with have seen and been victim to harsh realities of the world I will never fully understand and that can be hard to reconcile within myself.

I am a pretty big believer in teaching from where you’re at personally, so I decided to share the story in Mark 4:35-39.

As evening came, Jesus said to his disciples, “Let’s cross to the other side of the lake.” So they took Jesus in the boat and started out, leaving the crowds behind (although other boats followed). But soon a fierce storm came up. High waves were breaking into the boat, and it began to fill with water. Jesus was sleeping at the back of the boat with his head on a cushion. The disciples woke him up, shouting, “Teacher, don’t you care that we’re going to drown?” When Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Silence! Be still!” Suddenly the wind stopped, and there was a great calm.

After reading the story and giving some examples from my own life, I opened it up to discussion. A few kids gave accounts of “storms” they have or are currently experiencing; broken homes, drug addictions, fear for the future, to name a few.

We sat for a minute in silence and then one boy said, “The disciples were scared shitless, but what’s crazy is that Jesus was actually IN the storm with them. He was experiencing it right along with them.”

Another boy then followed with, “Yeah, and even though he eventually calmed the waves he first let them go through it for awhile, that was probably real confusing…but it’s kinda cool I think.”

It was wild—and perhaps sounds a bit cliche, but in that moment I felt like I was no longer teaching these kids, they were teaching me. This story is not new to me, I can practically recite it in my sleep, but in hearing from these boys and seeing it through their lens, something in me began to changed.

God is here.

He’s letting the storms rock me, my friends, my Young Life kids, even our country, but He’s in it.

And He has the authority to change everything.

Look it in the eyes—that is HOPE.

Our Monarch Young Life team is currently participating in an end of the year campaign to raise money for 2018. Our hope is to raise $9,000 to assist in supporting those in emergent needs, getting kids to camp and securing our operating budget. We currently need about $5,000 more in one-time or reoccurring donations. If you feel led to give, here’s the LINK. We need you, love you and appreciate you.


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