Last night I hung out at my neighbor's place until about 2:00 a.m. He's 21 and has friends who are about his age. They all work together at Lowe's, and for some reason they've taken to me and seem to think I'm a cool "old guy."
Here's the reality: the youth of today are some hurting campers. They were talking about the gossip at Lowe's, who's sleeping with who, who's "servicing" who in "receiving," who's pregnant with whose baby and and on and on.
I hope and pray that I can shed some light of God's love in their lives. There's one poor girl who's beautiful and adorable and her boyfriend just ended their relationship. She's drinking the pain away, many times drinking all night long. She drinks to be able to fall asleep and she told me last night that just the other day her alarm went off for work and she was still up with people, "partying." I'm going to be praying for her! The reality is that I'm old enough to be her father and my heart breaks for the pain she's in. She grew up in a Christian home but got burned by a friend and her youth pastor who violated her trust when she confided in them the tragic story that she had been raped in Mexico when she was 15. That caused her to become disillusioned with the church. How much pain there is in the world! I'm going to pray for her, and since she knows about my own heart break with Meg, the next time I see her I'm going to tell her that every time I feel the pain of the loss of Meg in my life, I'm going to be praying for her.
It's all so sad. One girl who was there last night went into the hospital with the belief that she was about to give birth. She became pregnant, and for some reason, probably out of some bizarre twist of shame, she was telling people that she got raped, but confessed in a moment of honesty to one of the girls who frequents my neighbor's house that it wasn't the case. But God bless her for keeping the child! And the guy she went to the hospital with tonight is not the father of her baby, but a guy who started dating her when she was 8 months pregnant. He's a good guy, only 19, who got burned by a youth pastor too. He got "grounded" from church for a month two years ago for not showing up to a rehearsal for the Christmas program. You know what he did tha night? He "got laid" and got drunk, and hasn't looked back. But imagine this: who would willingly enter into the life of a woman just about to give birth to a baby that isn't yours? When I see him, I see the love of Christ in him, but ironically I don't think he knows it himself.
I have two thoughts about these people: I hope I can be a messenger of God's love to them, but more than that, I want to work on cultivating friendship with them. I think too often we view people as a "mission field" first, but I find that repugnant. I want to nurture a relationship with people first and foremost, and pray that hopefully I can bring the light of God's love to their lives as part of that.
I'm giving them some tickets to my concert this weekend, and tomorrow night I'm going over there to play Guitar Hero with them. It should be fun, and hopefully soon I can call them friends. Though I think that's already happened. And it sounds like anytime I go to Lowe's, I'm going to be getting a discount too!
Say a prayer for them, especially the two girls, will you?