Dear Hurting Young Person

11:48 AMHeather

Last week was hard.  Oh, sure, in my own life I felt an uphill climb week.  If fact, I emailed a friend the other day to say that it was a day of just sitting on the curb.  Because I was rather worn out from running from race.  I just needed to sit.  And gather myself.

Yet, my own frustrations of the week do not compare to a repeated theme in the lives of those I know.  Over the last few months, I keep hearing stories of young people wounded.  Wounded and broken. Hurting and struggling. 

Two students at my son's high school have died this school year. Having committed suicide. Finding themselves in such a dark place that they saw no way out.  

Other stories that have reached my heart are those who have been wounded and victimized and beaten down and tossed aside, even by those who are supposed to love them. This, in fact, is the story of some precious Belizean children who stole my heart a few months ago.

And as I hear, over and over and over again, about these young people, my heart is broken.  These stories come from those who should be enjoying a carefree childhood and the excitement of the teen years, with their whole lives ahead of them.  Not wrestling with issues and burdens that would overwhelm even the most well adjusted and mature adult.

Friday, as I listened to my favorite artists while scrubbing my bathrooms, I couldn't shake the burden for these precious, precious people.  I felt compelled to write a love letter of sorts.  For everyone of them.  And as I write this today, I am whispering prayers for you.   

Dear Hurting Young Person,

I struggle to find words.  Because there are no words to assuage or explain the inexplicable.  There are no words to soothe the soul ravished at ages where innocence should not be lost.  There are no words to remove or erase the pains that plague you.  The loss you have endured.  The betrayals you have experienced.  The confusion and anger and depression and helplessness that seep from the open wounds.

I have no words.  

If I could scoop you up in my arms and make the pain go away, I would.  Please know that--if you think no one cares--then you are wrong.  If you think your story is too hard or too shameful or too scary to tell, then you are wrong.  Because while there is evil in the world, there is good.  There are those around you whom you may barely know.  But they may be the very ones God is raising up to hold you through this.  

Don't let the accuser hold you in a place where you stuff it all in.  

Please lean in and hear me today.  Please know that this blog post is my prayer for you.  My song over you.

You may stand at a crossroads.  Wondering if God is truly powerful.  Because if he was, then how could this happen to you? You may wonder if God is really good.  Because if he was, then why have you endured such bad things?

I don't have the answers. But I will say this.  I don't understand the ways of God.  I do know that this is not our home.  This is a broken world, where sin has ravished us all and seeks to destroy us.  Where an enemy is very very real.  And he is the father of lies.  He came to steal, kill and destroy.  He wants to steal your innocence and your joy.  He wants to kill your hope.  He wants to destroy your future.  That's who he is.

But he does not hold the greater power.  With whatever burdens are weighing you down, you have a choice to make. Either let your burdens stare you down or choose to look up. Take God at his word and believe he is bigger.  He is still bigger.  That what man meant for evil, God can use for good.  That just as customs and practices of other countries and cultures confuse us, the ways of heaven are baffling. You see, we don't actually belong here. Our citizenship is in a forever place, the wonder of which we cannot yet comprehend.  
I believe with all my heart--with such confidence and conviction that I want you to hear me very clearly.  I want to declare it boldly for you, proclaim it as truth you can count on.  

What we see, from our tiny vantage point is only a piece of the puzzle.  It may be a jagged, painful, hard to understand piece.  But there is a greater picture.  There is a greater glory.  There is an eternal healing.  There is, as Crowder's song says, no sorrow on earth that heaven can't heal.  And the sufferings of this world cannot compare to the glory to come.

Let me say that again.  

The sufferings of this world cannot compare to the glory to come. Upon seeing our Savior face-to-face, every last horrific and painful wound will be erased. His glory will be so marvelous, so incomprehensible, that the burdens that are so heavy for you now will suddenly be light as a feather.  In fact, they will disappear. 

And that which confounds and confuses you here will suddenly hold no bearing and will fade completely.  Because we will see things as God sees. We will see the final outcome and understand perfectly all that we cannot comprehend on this side of heaven's veil. We will grasp with awe and amazement how God used even the ugliest parts of our lives for eternal purposes, every day of our lives.  

For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face.  Now in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. 
1 Corinthians 13:12

Yes, here you are in the middle of a story that feels like it might never work out.  It feels as though page by page, word for word, things are downward spiraling.  Perhaps the chapters of your life's story are a story of struggle and pain and trials and things that feel unfair. I don't doubt that one bit.  I don't want to belittle your struggles in any way.  This world is a broken mess.  And we are often caught up in the conflicts.

Let me assure you.

The Author of your faith is the perfecter of your faith (Hebrews 12:2).  Since the beginning of time, he has been penning a love story.  He has been wooing us to him.  He has been declaring his love for us, through the stars and the skies and the creation all around us.  It's a love that is so powerful that we need the power of the Holy Spirit himself to even grasp it.  It's a love that makes all the difference.  It's a love so lavish that it spared no expense. It's a love so motivated to make you--YOU--its very own that the arms of God's son stretched open wide, nailed to a cross, to cover every last wrong and every sin of all mankind. 

It's the love of a father that looks on the horizon, eyes moving to and from, day after day, for the first glimpse of you coming to him. And on the very sight of you drawing near, the father hikes up his royal robes and runs toward you to hug you and welcome you and celebrate you and have you dwell with him forever.  

God says come in. Come in the house and be with me.  Don't settle for a lesser love. Don't think you have to earn the love.  Don't think the love is insufficient.  It's a love that is faithful to complete all that he has started in you.  It's a love that says bring it all to Me. Let Me hold you close.  It's a love that rejoices with singing over you. It's a love that delights in you.  It's a love that is mighty to save (Zephaniah 3:17).

And this love...this Heavenly Father...he says your weaknesses are are not things to be afraid to admit.  But declare your weaknesses as the opportunities they are for his strength to show up.  For his strength to be sufficient.  For his grace to fill all the gaps.  

Oh, yes, young one.  God is infinitely bigger and more good than we can even comprehend.  No matter how it feels at this moment. So run to him.  With all of your troubles.  Wrestle with him.  Ask him the hard questions, ask him to show himself and give you eyes to see.  Ask him to help.  Cry out with all that you are, over and over.

And remember to whom you belong.  The Almighty God.  Who is your Abba Father.  The God who says that in him, you are more than a conqueror.  The God who says no matter where you've been, he has secured your eternal destination.  The God who says his mercies are new for each day. The God who says because of his great love, we are not consumed.  The God who says I Am. I Am all you need. The God who says I have peace beyond comprehension to pour on you.  And I have joy to replace your mourning.  And I have strength in your weakness. I hold you in my righteous right hand.  I carry you through every storm.  I know the number of hairs on your head.

And he is the God who sees.  He sees your pain. He sees your struggles.  He hears your calls.  He is grieved for his children.

For that is who you are.  You are the child of The King of Kings. Do not let the world blind you to that fact.  Do not let the world tell you differently.  Do not be fooled with the temptations and successes of this world.  Because nothing compares to the glory of the Lord.  

The Potter who molds the clay. The Potter who shaped the world. The One in whose hands you can lay your every last worry. And be assured that he has the power to make the sun and moon rise and fall on his command.  Let us not forget that the wind and the waves must answer to his command.  

Let us not forget the picture we see throughout the book of Luke, where the demon possessed man and the boy with the evil spirit fell at the feet of Jesus. Because the evil cannot even stand against God. 

Declare his mighty name.  Know that there is power in the name of God.  Know that if God is for you, who can be against you? The victory is secured.  The battles may be long and brutal.  But the war has been won. 

No matter where your life story has you today, let me paint you a picture of the ending.  God wins.  Sin and death have been defeated.  Jesus returns to earth to usher in a new heaven and a new earth where we are granted the status of co-heirs.  And every last tear will be wiped away.  Every last wrong will be righted.  Every broken thing, every ugly thing will be made beautiful.

Because he makes beautiful things out of us. And out of every horrible thing we endure.  

Listen, my life has been redeemed from some dark pits.  From some places where I didn't want to wake up, yet God ushered in the dawn of a new day.  And he held me tight and carried me through. And I cannot forget his benefits (Psalm 103).  I cannot forget that Ephesians 2:10 says we are his workmanship.  In the original language, that translates to we are his poem.

He is writing our story, line by line, word for word, and it is a glorious story of epic proportions with a never ending happy ending.  He created us for good works.  He has a purpose and a plan for your life.

And he promises you something.  There in your pain.  There in your suffering.  There in your struggles.

He promises that he makes beauty from ashes. 

He orchestrates beautiful music from the ugliest of sounds.  He creates masterpieces with the broken pieces.  He weaves our lives, the good and the bad and the hard and the beautiful, into glorious tapestries with eternal worth.

So you there--with the weight of the world on your shoulders--do not lose sight of this.  

Your life may not be good right now.  Your life may feel hard. Your road may feel long.  You may feel worthless.  You may question the value of your contribution to this world.

Here's what you cannot see or may not grasp. 

Your God is good. He says cast your heavy burdens on him.  Cast all your anxieties on his big shoulders.  The shoulders that bore the cross and the weight of all sin.  Take his yoke upon you--for it is light and easy.  The road may have twists and turns and obstacles, but the destination is glorious beyond comprehension.  And you are so valuable to the God of the Universe that he spared no expense.  

And in the hands of the Most High God, He makes beautiful things out of dust.

So, don't give up.  Please don't give up.  Press in, long and hard, toward Jesus.  Cry out to him.  Confide in someone.  Let others take your hands and walk with you.  

For this road is difficult. Your wounds are deep and the bandages aren't yet healing them.  But by His stripes, we are healed.  And God uses even the ugliest of scars for beautiful purposes.

You are a survivor.  Through the strength of your Savior.

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