When I was 15, the Columbine High School shooting happened in Colorado. This was not the first time that year that there had been a school shooting and I remember not really caring and being slightly annoyed that it had happened “again.” When the news finally came out about how awful it truly was, I went into my room and just cried. I journaled pages and pages. For some reason, this particular shooting shook me to the core. I think it was the first time that the reality hit me that there were teens out there my age living such a hopeless existence. It was during this time period that I realized God was calling me to missions. I could not imagine doing anything with my life other than sharing hope with others.
I have shared the Gospel, mostly in a classroom setting to children, many times over the years. It’s not like it’s a new message for me. But, to hear someone else passionately share the meaning of the Gospel still resonates with me. There’s something about sitting back and listening to someone who truly loves the Lord, has been saved by grace, and is passionate about telling others about it that just makes it hit home that much harder. All over again. Like hearing it for the first time.
I was not saved out of a life of sin. I was not saved out of the depths of hopelessness or from the brink of disaster. I was saved when I was 4. I was a kid. I had zero concept of the magnitude of the decision I made to give my life to Christ. I understood what I had done, absolutely, but the magnitude of it? That still hits me like bricks on a regular basis. “The depths of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God…” (Rom. 11:33) is such a true statement.
However, even though I was not saved out of sin and hopelessness, I was saved from it. This is one reason why I’m so passionate about reaching children: to have God save them from a life like that. A life that those boys in Columbine lived. A life that is so commonplace now that no one even blinks an eye at someone who’s depressed – it’s just “a part of life.”
But it’s not normal. At least, it shouldn’t be. God did not create us to live a life of hopeless existence on planet Earth. He did not create us to spend our whole lives wondering why we’re here and questioning the entire meaning of life and eternity. He did not give us His written Word on a whim, hoping that the select few would be wise enough to open it and read it. He did not make Himself inaccessible, distant, and hard to understand.
The exact opposite. He wants us to live a life of hope – a life full of purpose and meaning. There is a reason why we’re here and there’s hope for where we’re going next. He placed eternity in each person’s heart – that longing for something more, that question of “what comes after life”, that gut feeling that this is not all there is. He did that on purpose so that we would search Him out. I love that He put books like Job into the Bible. An entire book dedicated to questions from a man to Eternal God – hard questions! And God answers him. Infinite God bends His ear to ordinary man and answers his tough questions – simply because Job dared to ask them.
We do not have a distant God Who created us and left – Who doesn’t care and isn’t involved. He cares for us – individually. Constantly. His desire is for us to come to Him and know Him for Who He is.
This week, Billy Graham turned 95. I grew up seeing him on TV on a regular basis and being annoyed that my parents made us watch “preaching” after we had spent all day in church already. Anyway… he gave one last address to the nation and it’s available here on youtube. He lays out the hope that is available in Christ so clearly. I have heard and presented the Gospel so many times and yet, like I said earlier, hearing someone else passionately lay it out is just… awesome.
If you’re searching for hope, if you’re skeptical about God, if you’re questioning why you’re even here at all – take 30 minutes from your day and watch this video. This is the message that Brian and I have dedicated our lives to sharing with others. Not because it’s an easy life or lots of fun to travel, but because we believe it’s true and want to be sure everyone hears this message. What you do with it is up to you.