Words on a Page

This week my son asked me to help transcribe an interview he had done with a fellow student for one of his classes.

The young man was a classmate, a virtual stranger. Yet over the course of their half-hour discussion he openly shared his heart, his casual tone belying the deep hurt and suffering happening in his world right then and there–suffering without hope because he has yet to know Jesus.

As I typed, my attention slowly shifted from the words on the page to the heart speaking. Several minutes in, I was overcome with the longing to reach through space, look this boy in the eye and say:

I see you. You are beloved. You were crafted with purpose by your Creator; your life is exquisite, valuable and important.

I decided to share a few of his words with you today to remind us that each and every day we encounter people just like him, people walking through the world in hurt and pain, alone and unseen–without a sense of hope or purpose.

The Transcript

Q: Would you consider yourself religious?

A: No, not at all.

Q: What would you consider to be the purpose of life? Like, if you had to dwindle it down, what would you see as most important?

A: Are you going with that? [pause] Oh, so the purpose of life.

I guess, there’s no really reason or purpose in life, ’cause like biologically speaking, it’s just you reproduce, and then if you reproduce, then you, you’re good for your life and you can just die.

So I don’t know what exactly it is, but as a human being I feel like our purpose in life is just to enjoy it, and just enjoy the moment, just enjoy everything.

Like, we’ve been granted this life, and we should just live it. I mean as much as we can. I mean whatever we do.

I mean people, like, have tons of different paths, but it’s their life to live. I can’t really bother with it. I mean if they like what they do, keep going with it. I guess each person has a different thinking about what their purpose is. And what is their purpose? I mean, like, people find their own purpose.

Not everyone’s going to be the same. I mean, we have like artists and stuff, and they find themselves through art; or people can find themselves in sports, like you do. And other people just live. I mean, it’s all it is.

Q: What is something that you wish you could be better at?

A: I wish I would, um, I don’t know, have more of an impact on people. In a sense, and although I do talk to a good amount of people, I feel like I’m easily forgettable.

The Response

Of course, I challenged my son to invest in his classmate. And he may. In the meantime, I have begun praying for this young man to have a radical encounter with the love of Jesus, and I believe that God will open that door to him.

Most days I pray that God will put someone in my path who needs to hear about him. I am loaded and ready. And yet, most days I fail to see them.

My prayer today is that God will open our eyes and our hearts to people like this young man, that he will provide us with the opportunity to share the story of how the love of Jesus has changed our lives.

And I pray that this glimpse into the heart of an unbeliever will give us courage to be bold, fearless and relentless in our outreach and commitment to love and serve each other as Jesus first did for us. He left us with that clear instruction:

Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age.

Matthew 28: 18-20

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