Our paths crossed. Maybe a football game. Maybe in the hallway or cafeteria. Maybe at Club. Either way, we see no coincidence in our encounter. We entered your world. We met you right where you were. No strings attached. External mattered not. We loved you as best as we could. St. Paul said it best in 1 Thessalonians 2:8, “We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us.” Dear indeed. Mentors? Yes. Friends? Even more. Fans? Most surely. An odd friendship considering the age difference, but that factored little in living life, laughing hard, going on adventures, or talking about deep matters with you. For a short season we did our best, not perfect, but our best to be available, to help you navigate through the adolescent’s rough waters, and to help you follow Jesus. We knew we wouldn’t see you or be in touch with you as regularly after graduation. Freshmen. You would become one. A new group would start at the high school. Despite the change you are still so dear to us. We hope you know this. We believe you do.
While in high school, our hopes and prayers were to help you grow in your love for Jesus Christ while at the same time leave an eternal impact at your school. You attended Campaigners consistently. You went to Fall Weekend…maybe more than once. You stepped foot on a Young Life camp and experienced, what we hope still remains, the “best week of your life.” You went to Club – invited friends and even lead some up-front. It was a privilege doing (Young) life with you. Thank you! Thank you for giving so much of your time to us, your peers, and for helping make Young Life memorable and vital to so many people. Can you imagine high school without Young Life? Thank you for running after Jesus when you were with among us.
No longer in high school, our hopes and prayers are similar. We pray you would continue to walk faithfully with Jesus and have an eternal impact wherever you tread. Despite being in a new environment with new challenges, we have prayed that your love for Jesus would only increase. We have prayed that you would give your life away, counting all lost in compared to knowing and making known our Savior Jesus Christ. In doing this, we know that you would be living life to full! And so you went. And so we prayed. And even so, we knew that in your journey you would have to own it. It being following Jesus. He says it best, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me (Matt. 16:24).” And so we still hope and prayer.
We don’t know fully where you are in your relationship with Jesus. We do know that His love for you and pursuit for deeper intimacy changes not. We do know if anything has changed in this beautiful love relationship it is you who has changed. Maybe your setting, circumstances, or outlook has changed. Maybe you do not find Jesus as relevant as He was when you walked your high school hallway. Maybe your prayer life and time in His Word has diminished. Maybe you were challenged regarding your faith in Jesus. Maybe you came to a crossroad, a choice was to be made, and you realized your faith was not as strong as you thought. Maybe new friends or relationships are taking precedent. Maybe you are wavering – finding your faith inconsistent and unsettling. Maybe you are conforming. Maybe you have already conformed. St. Paul again says it best, this time to the Galatian believers – “You were running a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth?” Remember beloved, the enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy. And still yet…
Know we will continue to pray for you. Know no matter what you do our love for you is unbreakable and unchangeable. Know whatever race you run, we are here for you. Know you always have a seat at our table. Know that you are still so dear to us! Most importantly, know these things are true to our King, Jesus.
May the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ overwhelm and draw you near to Him. Amen.