Tuesday, October 26, 2010

the need for hope

One of the things that I have learned during my time at seminary has been the importance of having hope. Hope is what will encourage people to persevere when life seems overwhelming. Hope is more than just a faint silver lining on a dark cloud, it is the reason for being - the reason to hold on.  Recently I have been confronted with stories of teens whose lives are full of hurts. I see them searching for meaning, hope - something to help them get through. The tough thing is that for many of them their search is coming up lacking. In short they are failing to find hope. 

This weekend I was once again face to face with hurting teens needing to find hope. I was part of a youth retreat at my camp. The theme for the weekend was about helping the students understand who God made them to be - basically we wanted our campers to understand that they matter deeply to God. During one of the sessions we asked our campers to write out some prayers to God. This is an exercise that I both love and hate. I love it because it teaches the students a lot about prayer and gets them involved. I hate it because it usually reveals a lot of brokenness and hurt. This time was no exception. Our prayer boards were covered with all sorts of concerns and cries to God. It was beautiful and heart-wrenching. Perhaps my favorite thing that was written was not a prayer but a short comment that simply read..."I had no reason to live 'til you told me I matter to God."

This sentence has been something that I have been reflecting on for 48 hours now. I was brought to tears when I read it the first time and I have been awed by it every time I have read it since. It very plainly relates the pain, brokenness and lostness that many teens feel and also plainly state how God was at work this weekend. The message of hope was that they mattered to God. 

I believe that the foundational theological truth of all of scripture is that each person has been made in the image of God and has been given great value because they bear that image. We are not accidents but the work of a deliberate creator who made us to matter to him. This is what a world in need to hope needs to  hear. They need to know that they matter to God. 
- Josh


  1. Eyes watering! Thanks for sharing Josh. I'm so glad that teen was there to hear the message of hope! I'm sure it was meaningful to many others.