Dear young people in my life,
I first want to start by saying thank you. You will never know how richly and deeply your friendship has impacted my life. You have taught me so much. Words can’t express how much I care for you and want the absolute best for you in life.
When your life is going well for you I can’t help but smile. When you are succeeding in your sport or at school or with music I am so proud of you. When you discover new things about God I am so excited for you. When you take risks and do things that are potentially harmful I worry about you. And when you are hurting or lost my heart breaks.
I’ve been thinking about you a lot today. About all the fun times we have had at youth events and youth camps. About all the inappropriate jokes and laughter that have been shared. About all the times you have challenged my patience and pushed the boundaries. About the spiritual growth I’ve seen in you and the times you have questioned God’s existence. I’ve especially been thinking a lot about the times I have failed you.
The times I have failed to speak out and tell you how much God loves you. The times I have been more concerned with how much fun you are having rather than helping you grow in your faith. The times I have watered down the gospel because I didn’t want to be “too full on”. The times I didn’t say what was on my mind or challenge you because I wanted you to like me. And the times I have set a bad example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.
I long for you to seek God with all your heart and walk with Him. It brings me to tears thinking about how many of you have and will walk away from God. Perhaps you are yet to grasp the height, the depth and the width of His unrelenting love for you. Or perhaps it all seemed too hard and you decided that following culture was the easier and more enjoyable option. Whatever the reason I wish there was more I could do, but I honestly don’t know what would help. I will continue to pray for you though. And encourage you where I can. I will ask you the hard questions. And I will try to set a better example.
I am having trouble finding the words to close this letter. There is so much more I want to say, but I doubt you want to hear it.
Know that the decisions you make won’t make me think any less of you, even if I don’t agree with them. But also know that the decisions you make have consequences, for better or worse, and you have to live with them. Know that you have people around you who love you and will always be there to listen and encourage. And when everything and everyone else in this world fails to satisfy, know that God’s love is enough and that there is nothing in all creation that can separate you from it.