Yes, my kids and teenagers are totally time consuming. They are inconvenient and inconsiderate and loud and obnoxious. They are draining. They are little takers. They take energy, sanity, money, resources, gas, gold fish, Gatorade, everything. But boy howdy, my life is so full of joy when they are around. Their little laughs give life meaning. They show me Your pure love.
I heard Rich Wilkerson Jr.’s sermon on Bread, Bullets, and Bandages which is about why we need to study the Bible. The same reason we as adults need to study the Bible is the same reason my babies need the Word. It is our daily bread. Rich talked about reading the Bible, to see You, because we are hungry for You, God.
I spent my younger years in youth group and it set a foundation for the rest of my life. I stand on solid ground because of those adults that poured the Word into me. They were pouring cement underneath me. The Word does not return void. Where would I be if some one hadn’t taken the time to invite me, to sit next to me and introduce themselves, to ask me to come back, to offer a hand in prayer? Youth Group was a lifeline for me. VBS was a safe haven. AWANA’s was a spiritual battle preparation. Mission Trips taught me to how to walk. Lock-ins set boundaries for me and taught me how to have fun without getting in trouble. I never would have seen You, Lord, if those people had not shown up. They probably don’t even remember me. But they showed me who You were by simply showing up. Where would any of us be if no one took the time to reach out to us?
Rich taught that the Word is like bullets and if your aim is wrong, it’s pointless. We are in a spiritual battle. I need to remember who the enemy is here. He said “when the enemy comes to attack you, I hope you know how to fight back.” “Every time the devil comes and pushes Him and threatens Him, Jesus responds back with a simple phrase: ‘it is written.'” We have to teach these kids to hide the Word in their heart, the same way we need it.
Kids need VBS and youth group worship nights and mission trips and lock-ins and all the things. Not because they need programming, but because they need to see You in practical, hands-on ways. Because at that event, is a little girl who is suffering abuse she can’t talk about yet, but she can hear life-giving Word delivered way deep down in her heart. Because at that worship night is a little boy who wants to end his life crying out to You to save him. Because that little kid at VBS is practically homeless and completely alone, but for a couple hours, that kid is safe and loved and making connections to people who will give them the tools to survive. Because at that serve night, there is a teenager there in the bathroom looking for a way out and they need to be shown the way out of their sin and shame, not a way to end their life. “The Word is bandages to those that is hurting. To stop bleeding. To help healing occur. To keep infection from getting in. To protect.”
My babies need to practice. They need to read the scripture, memorize the scripture, and meditate on the Word. They need to be taught how to do these things. They need attention to be poured into them through relationships with each other and adults that love them. They need hope for brighter days. This is a spiritual battle. It ain’t got nothing to do with me and and it ain’t got nothing to do with the building and it ain’t got nothing to do with over programming. It has everything to do with You.
So, here is my prayer. I was real anxious this morning, I started to make myself sick. I felt blindsided and I was scared for my babies. They need you, Father. I turned my worship music on to quiet my mind and then I went straight for a sermon. Lord, the programs don’t matter, the games don’t matter, the snacks don’t matter, the building don’t matter. None of the stuff matters. Those kids, those lives matter. They need you. They need a support group to point them to you. They need healthy relationships and boundaries. They need bread, bullets, and bandages. They need your word. Father, move me completely out of the way. I don’t want to stand unless you put me there. I don’t want any of it unless it is your way, your will. I just want you. You are all these kids need too. I pray you show me what to do and where to go. Lord, I’m listening. Take my agenda and my plans and throw them right out the window. Lord, I just want you. And as always I pray for my family and sorority sisters. I pray for my university. I pray for guidance for our government, church, and school leaders. I pray for protection for our troops. I pray for all of those that need you now and for those that haven’t met you yet. In Jesus’ name, Amen.