I hope you will not tire of my thoughts from our youth trip to Montreat. It was such a wonderful experience and there is much to share from our journey. This week I would like to address the theme of God’s love – an important lesson for young and old alike. As a youth at heart trapped in the body of a 40 something year old, I have a unique perspective. For the youth, God’s love is often overlooked as one of His most special gifts.
Life as a teenager has its ups and downs. It’s a time of great transition from childhood to adulthood. Yet there is much turmoil during this period of change, for both the youth and those who care for them. Youth are often insecure and uncertain about their future. They can be emotionally unstable at times. Every now and then they may make poor choices as they test the waters of responsibility and authority. We have all been teenagers but our memories of these trying times have faded over the years.
Perhaps now more than ever, our youth need affirmation. During our time at Montreat, the adult leaders stressed to the youth that God will always love them. Through the good times and the bad times, through the right decisions and the wrong choices, God’s love for them is a special gift. It is not something that must be earned or purchased. It is something that must simply be accepted. In return, we should all learn to share His gift.
As their congregational guardians, we can demonstrate God’s love for our youth. We can take a moment to reaffirm God’s love to the youth (as well as to one and another) through our positive comments, through a hug or pat on the back, or simply through a smile of encouragement. I am confident that the outcome will be quite favorable for the youth and for you too! It’s a lesson we can all take to heart.
“O give thanks to the God of heaven, for his steadfast love endures forever.” (Psalm 136.26)