Friday, April 10, 2009

Bittersweet

Dark chocolate is probably my favorite. Something about how it is not too sweet, it's sort of, well, bitter. Bittersweet seems to make the sweet aftertaste even better than just the sugary sweet of milk chocolate.
Bittersweet doesn't only describe the state of my favorite chocolate, it also describes my state of life as a youth pastor. Though most people get to see the fun parts, the lock-ins, the retreats, the tons of pizza consumed, and the teen drama day... I get to see all the parts. The parts that are far from fun.
The eyes I have been given see scars on the arms of kids who feel ugly and used, scars put there by themselves. I have seen them walk away from everything they have known to stick one more needle in their arm, one more razor blade to their thigh, one more pornographic picture in front of their face. I've watched girls as they've urinated into cups as they cry tears, hoping and praying to God that He will save them from the consequences of a choice they've made, only to go home and celebrate that everything came back negative with a night of senseless sex, to return again. The tears that have been cried at the altar, I've seen turned in anger towards myself for taking the side of a parent, for being the one who is trying to show them truth when the world is trying to sell them lies, just to have them walk away cursing my name directly into the arms of the lies that want to claim them.
There are moments of joy, immense joy, but there are also moments of such great pain and heartache, that I begin to wonder, if my small glimpse of pain is this bad, what it must be like for Christ every time they hurt themselves?
Sometimes the exhaustion sets in. The tired eyes, the weakened heart, and I wonder how people have done this for years. I wonder how they have woke up each day for 15 years to do it all over again.
Tonight I was reminded, that though I grow weary, God never does. Though my heart breaks, his breaks more. Though I love these kids, there is one who loves them more deeply than I ever could, and I know that He is capable of doing more than I could ever think or imagine. He is capable of putting back together broken lives, of healing open wounds, of being the only love that we will ever need.
It is in that, that I put my hope and trust. Hope and trust that God, who has always been faithful, will be faithful once more. Hope and trust that God will be strength when I have none less, and will give me the words when I don't know what to speak. Hope and trust that this too will be made right.

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