Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Too Many Tears. . . .

Brokenness has plagued our world since our first parents indulged themselves in the garden. I have to believe the Scriptures when I'm told that there is nothing new under the sun. But over the course of the last several years, it at least seems to me that brokenness is running deeper and wider through our culture, particularly among our young. Maybe it's always been this way and it's my eyes that are being opened to a reality that's always existed. Still, that doesn't take away the hurt and pain.

This week I've been finishing up a painful little book that's offered a peek into one form of brokenness that runs far too deep and wide in today's youth culture. Loose Girl: A Memoir of Promiscuity is Kerry Cohen's first-person account of her admittedly dead-end efforts to squelch and eventually anesthetize her own broken self through a sexually promiscuous lifestyle that she thought would be redemptive. Not surprisingly, it didn't work. She admits in the book's introduction, "I slept with close to forty boys and men before I figured out doing so was not serving me well." Oh if only our kids would hear and heed Cohen's conclusion. Alot of pain and suffering might be side-stepped. But like Cohen, so many go down this road in search of proof "of being worthwhile" and finding "proof of being loved."

But it's not just the kids who hurt. One of the most disturbing aspects of my work with CPYU is the constant barrage of encounters with parents in pain. It breaks my heart. One conversation I had the week before Christmas is not unusual or infrequent. . . even thought I wish it was. I asked a friend whose the parent of a grown child the simple little question that we give about as much thought as we give a polite in-passing "hello." I asked, "How are you?" Before his mouth opened, his eyes filled with tears.

As brokenness spreads and is more frequently uncovered, what are we going to do about it? I've become committed to telling youth workers and others to 1) pray that the barriers shielding the brokenness that exists would fall and people would embrace vulnerability, 2)be ready with whatever it takes to offer hope and healing - knowledge, referrals, counseling, etc., and 3)understand and embrace a biblical theology of brokenness that recognizes how God uses suffering to bring about his salvation. Yes, suffering can be redemptive.

One of the steps we're taking here at CPYU to address this reality takes place in about two months. On Saturday March 13 we're inviting anyone who desires to effectively understand and minister to broken kids to join us for a one-day training seminar on Hope and Healing for Broken Kids (you can learn more and find out how to register by clicking here)featuring some excellent and practical teaching from Marv Penner and Rich Van Pelt. If you don't live near us here in Central Pennsylvania, you should be taking the initiative to sponsor something like this in your area.

I want to encourage you to commit to praying diligently for the broken kids (and adults) you know and love. Pray for healing and redemption to come. Ask God to glorify Himself through it all.

Besides going deeper into the Scriptures to find healing in the midst of my own brokenness, I've found a good friend in the growing amount of music that addresses these themes. One of my musical friends is Sara Groves. In the midst of an especially difficult time a couple of years ago, Derek Melleby (who was in the car with me at the time) popped in her song "It's Going to Be Alright." I heard these simple, reassuring words:

It's going to be alright
It's going to be alright

I can tell by your eyes that you're not getting any sleep
And you try to rise above it, but feel you're sinking in too deep
Oh, oh I believe, I believe that

It's going to be alright
It's going to be alright

I believe you'll outlive this pain in you heart
And you'll gain such a strength from what is tearing you apart
Oh, oh I believe I believe that

It's going to be alright
It's going to be alright

When some time has past us, and the story if retold
It will mirror the strength and the courage in your soul
Oh, oh, I believe I believe,

I believe
I believe

I did not come here to offer you cliches
I will not pretend to know of all your pain
Just when you cannot, then I will hold out faith, for you

It's going to be alright
It's going to be alright

I love that line. . . "you'll gain such a strength from what's tearing you apart." Great theology. So true. Let's pray that our kids will experience the same.

"It's Going To Be Alright" by Sara Groves from International Justice Mission on Vimeo.

1 comment:

Greg Jones said...

The end of that song with the "cast your cares on Me" line is really powerful... it is going to be alright if we just lean on the Savior.

Great blog. These broken kids grow into broken adults, who raise more broken kids. The only way we can break this cycle is to get Jesus involved. Hope is not political, its not found in warm fuzzy movies or top forty music, it's only found in Jesus.