A friend who is in youth ministry is leading a session soon with her young people on the topic of wisdom and she asked some of her friends to write a letter to their teenage selves, sharing some of the wisdom they now wish they had known then. My effort appears below, although I suspect that it is probably too long – you know me and words…once I get started, I write quite a lot!
I know you’ve spent years wondering about God, looking for that power outside of yourself which will satisfy your need for transcendence. And you looked at crystals and the New Age books, but they did not satisfy. You longed for a relationship with a boy who would love you and give you that sense of connectedness to the essence of life, but it never seemed to happen. You even tried church and reading the Bible and yet somehow these things missed the mark too, as you got lost in the violence and incomprehensible names in the books in the middle of the Bible, the place it naturally seemed to fall open every time you went looking for the God you believed might somehow make sense of the universe for you.
I know how that feels. To go to church and feel frustrated because it does not satisfy that longing for more. To go after other things in your search for more, and yet to come up empty every time.
But, in the years since that time, I made a discovery. I’m not saying that after that discovery everything has always made sense because it hasn’t. But I do believe I’ve found the essence of life, the transcendent power, the connectedness I so longed for; I’ve found the governing principle holding everything together.
Except he’s not a principle.
He’s a person and his name is Jesus.
I know. It sounds too simple, right? But this is what I wish I had known as a teenager. I wish I had known Jesus. Not as a principle or a power. Not as a secondhand projection of deathly boring preaching whilst I was sitting in a pew. But a person. A real live person in whom all things hold together. The One who knows me and loves me because he made me.
And if that’s all I can tell you with the story of my life, I figure that’s enough. No crystals or New Age stuff, no boy, no good works or church attendance records could give me what I longed for. But, in Jesus, I have found the only true satisfaction. So, chase after him because he is the only one worthy of your heart.
With love and a lot of excitement about who he’s inviting you to become,