Today I got to talk about my best friend.
My absolute-world-changing-life-transforming best friend.
And I got to talk about Him all day.
Which is my absolutely-favourite-ever-thing-to-do.
I was working with a group of 5 young guys, they were all 18 or 19 years, and they had all come to me for support to make positive changes in their lives. These guys are so different it’s unbelievable to have them in the same room, let alone talking openly and honestly and frankly with each other!
Two are trying to make a break from a history of pretty violent behaviour and severe anger issues, one is struggling with having no confidence, one is battling with issues of identity and sexuality, and one with generational unemployment.
And today as we spent time getting to know each other, talking about dreams and aspirations and how to make changes in life, chatting about work and expectations and hopes, sharing history and challenges and disappointments, I had one of those days where I realise just how much I love my job.
I really do.
I just love youth work and the opportunities Holy Spirit gives.
And as I facilitated team building, and fun activities, and thought provoking exercises, the talk just flowed naturally and openly and wonderfully.
And the questions to me just kept popping up… Natural, unprompted, genuine, a-little-bit-relentless-but-yet-wonderful…
‘Peta, what do you believe as a Christian?’
‘How do you know Jesus is the son of God?’
‘Does God love gay people?’
‘Why do things like rape and abuse happen in the world if God loves us?’
‘Where does science fit in with God?’
‘I’ve been to a physic and felt this extreme power in the room. Is that different from the power you’re talking about Jesus having?’
‘What will happen when Jesus comes back?’
‘Do you read the Bible everyday?’
‘Peta, I think you’re the happiest person I’ve ever met. Has it always been like that, or have you had difficulties in life to overcome?’
All day, the questions flowed. And Holy Spirit was very present. So the answers flowed. I got to share the full Gospel. I got to wrestle with the difficulties of questions without answers. I got to share my testimony. I got to realise that it wasn’t about me creating or pushing, but about God pulling and drawing hearts to Himself and just allowing me to be part of the process by His grace. And at the end of the day I got some feedback from the group. Some of these quotes just touched my heart.
‘I feel like for the first time in coming to these kinds of courses I’ve actually met someone who doesn’t just say they care, but who really does. Like a friend who’ll actually be there.’
‘I feel like I could chat to you all day and get the banter for hours even though you’re completely different from anyone I’ve ever met.’
‘I loved meeting new people and trying new things and hearing about different perspectives.’
‘I can’t believe you don’t drink alcohol!’
‘I feel inspired to be a better person and to actually do something with my life. You seem so happy and fulfilled and that just encourages me to be able to do it as well.’
I’m really humbled by that.
But I also know that I’m not some kind of special-super-evangelist. I’m just an ordinary girl who loves young people and loves Jesus. So if I can talk about my best friend, we can all (with Holy Spirit’s prompting and assistance!) talk about our best friend. We all have a story of rescue. Of redemption. Of reality. And of thankfulness.
So right now, please join me in praising the beautiful name of Jesus, thanking Him for wonderful opportunities and providing the courage to share, and pray that these 5 young men would one day stand in the courts of heaven, forgiven and restored for all eternity.
And I really do pray that they find that HE is their hope and their joy and their security and their answer, so, so soon.
I am so in awe of Jesus. And so in love with Jesus. And so thankful that He would use me to advance His Kingdom in a tiny-way-that-He-waters-and-makes-big.
Thank you Jesus.
You are my best friend.