Your love never fails, never gives up, Never runs out on me… It overwhelms and satisfies my soul.
I’ve seen and sang this line from One Thing Remains by Jesus Culture dozens of times. However, while sitting in a car recently, listening to a youth student pour their life out to Cliff and I, it impressed upon me differently for the first time. Instead of being about love for me, and that love overwhelming and satisfying MY soul. God was impressing me differently. He was overwhelming my soul with the love He has for His child.
As my heart was breaking for what this student was telling Cliff and I, and the life they have had to live and how amazingly God has healed them and given them a new outlook on their situation, my heart was overwhelmed. Overwhelmed with the love God has for this student. Overwhelmed with grief that any child should have to endure and make choices that this student has had to make. Overwhelmed at God’s grace and love that was so evident in the life of this child. Overwhelmed that while I had known this student for nearly two years, that I still only knew a glimpse of what they dealt with on a daily basis.
How have I been so blind?
How have I not seen the pain?
How could we have missed this? THIS is what is important-people, hearts, souls.
I’ve heard stories from this student before. I’ve heard pain in their voice. I’ve been so blind to what the heart behind the voice is saying. I’ve been so busy with life, with church and with ministry to hear and feel this student’s struggles.
Lord, how can I have been so blinded by ministry to miss Your ministry?
This student doesn’t speak about home life much, they try not to speak about it because they feel they would be flaunting it or looking for negative attention and that’s just not the case. Deep down, they are ashamed of their way of life and their story.
When I was in high school, my youth pastor was big on stories. He knew that each student and person had a story as to why they are the way they are, including their testimony. He would ask my youth group of 300 students, “What’s your story?” He knew he would never know each of our stories, but he wanted US to know our own stories and to pay attention to what God is doing in our own lives and how He shaped us and made us. I never felt I had a story in high school. I would try to write mine down, but as a pastor’s granddaughter who was in the church every time it was open and who attended anything and everything from the day I was born, I have never had a “remarkable” story. It’s my story, but it never had anything drastic like the stories of others. Sometimes that is the best testimony–to know God your whole life, but it always made me feel like I missed something. Not that I wished I had a horrible home life or was wrapped up in drugs–but people had experienced a life-altering salvation. While my salvation is indeed life-changing it wasn’t drastic like the ones you read about in magazines, online, or hear about from evangelists or in books.
This past weekend, I realized again why God put me where He put me: to show those suffering they have a choice for their future, that their children can live without the experiences they dealt with growing up, and to be there for people (and students) who need to know there is hope–not just in God, but in life with God and a future with God.
Cliff and I had overwhelmed souls this past weekend. God overwhelmed our souls to get our attention. He used the voice of a child, a student, and a friend to get our attention to how blind we’ve been. Even to a student we have been talking with for years. Thank you Lord, for opening our eyes. May we never grow so busy or weary that we miss the opportunities you place before us. Thank you Lord for your faithfulness to provide this student with resilience and wisdom beyond her years, and for never letting go of their heart in the midst of the storms of life. Let us not be so blind that we stand next to someone who is hurting and don’t say what you need us to say, or do what you want us to do.