Sunday, May 29, 2005

An Open Letter to the Youth of Redeemer Presbyterian Church

I doubt that any of you read my blog on a regular basis. In fact, I’d be surprised if more than one or two of you even know that I’m keeping this blog. It’s not something that I’ve advertised at our church. No particular reason, really, just haven’t done it. So, I don’t know how I am going to make sure that you are able to see this post. But perhaps that is a problem for another day. Today I will simply spill out my heart. God has placed you on my heart. For many years, I have had a particular care and concern for teens and, now that I am a part of this church, I have that care for you. I know what the world is like out there. In fact, in some ways, I am amazed that any teen survives to age eighteen intact. Something usually gets broken along the way, doesn’t it? These days that can sometimes mean suicide, but it’s true in smaller ways, too. The pain of rejection when you’re not quite like the others. The pressure to yield to illicit pleasures, to drugs, to sex. The struggle to remain a faithful Christian in the face of apathy or outright opposition. Back when I was in high school, there were only three teens in the church where my father pastured. There was myself, Michelle, and Erica. During those four years, I watched them slip away, falling farther and farther from the faith. Michelle eventually became pregnant out of wedlock, and Erica renounced the faith completely. Three of us, in a solid, Presbyterian church, and only one of us made it. Even in my own Christian high school, there were times that I felt out of place, like my serious desire to do good work and learn to honor Jesus was strange. It’s hard to be a teen. But I’m old now. Not “grey-haired” old, but still older than I once was. It has been eleven years since I graduated, and my life is very different than what it once was. I am married, with children of my own to care for. Still, sometimes after worship, I watch you and I wonder where you will be in five years. I want to know your struggles, I want to reach out to you, to help you, to befriend you, so that maybe you will pull through to the other side. But I feel the divide sometimes. An entire decade divides us, and so you go your way, and I go mine. I had no delusions that somehow my aid or advice will make all the difference. Still, I wish that I could somehow do more to help you. So I want you to know a few things. First, I will be praying for you. Satan is gunning for you. I believe this with all my heart. He is out there, seeking to tear you apart, and it’s not going to get any easier. So I will be praying that God will sustain you, that He will hedge you about with angels, and that He would give you the strength that you need to stand and fight when you need to fight. Second, I would like to be your friend. I know that we don’t really have as much in common as your other friends, but perhaps we could try. If nothing else, we’re going to have to spend eternity together. We could start getting to know each other now. Third, for whatever it’s worth, I am willing to listen to your problems. I want to be there to help you, however I can. I don’t know if any of you will read this, but perhaps you will. So, Ian, William, Abigail, Lydia, Samuel, Theo, know that you are in my heart and in my prayers. Your brother in Christ, Seth Ben-Ezra

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