I couldn’t see the point anymore. Everyone had their lives to live, and I was stuck in my life, a life that seemed pointless and filled with endless days of pain. I wanted out of life because as far as I could see, no one cared if I was alive or dead. My home was broken as my father had left us and my mother was locked in the turmoil of watching a 22-year marriage dissolve. A dear friend, someone I had dated, had passed away in a tragic accident. Nothing would bring her back, and nothing was going to put my family back together. As I looked around at what was supposed to be the highlight of my life, my senior year, everything was in ruins. There was no sanctuary. There was no hope. If I were gone, the pain would be relieved, and no one outside of my family would even notice I was no longer alive. After time, they, too, would move on with their lives; and it would be as if I never had existed.
Sixteen years ago, that was me. My drab look at life pushed me to the point of suicide. As I planned how I would end the pain, I made sure I made peace with God, praying about the sins I knew I had in my life, hoping God would forgive me for ending my life prematurely. I picked up a razor blade and took the first cut. I was not simply talking about it or thinking about it anymore…I was going to die now. Another cut followed by a third…time was expiring on a life left unfulfilled. In a short time, with a little more pain, it would all be over and I could step on to the other side, away from the horrors of this life.
God spared my life. At school the next day, the cuts bled through and one of my classmates saw it. Immediately, there was concern. Before long, my mother was contacted and people from all areas of my life were talking with me about my significance in their lives and my significance in the eyes of God. I was clouded mentally as to whether people were saying these things to be nice or if it was heart-felt. As time went on though, I could tell how they meant it by their actions; and as they helped me develop a deeper relationship with Jesus, I found He meant what He said.
I am a youth pastor. I have served as a youth pastor for more than 11 years. If there is one topic we tend to overlook as we serve the students, it is the truth of the worth that each one of those students hold in our lives and especially in the eyes of the Creator of the universe. In today’s world, students are bombarded with pain in a variety of ways, and often they feel like that 18-year-old student who didn’t see a point in living anymore. As we seek to be Christlike in our ministries, we have to remember how Christ instilled a sense of value into all those He interacted with on a daily basis.
A passage that God calls me back to continuously is Mark 1:40-45. As Jesus is approached by a man with leprosy, He healed the man. The significance in this healing comes in verse 41 where Mark writes, “Moved with compassion, Jesus reached out His hand and touched him.” Christ had the ability to heal the man without touching him, without saying a word. Christ reached out and touched the man, showing that he was more than the disease. He instilled value into this life with a simple touch as no one would even get near someone with leprosy. People afflicted with leprosy were driven outside the city. They were outcasts, separated from friends and family. Christ touched him, instilling that he was of great value, showing him that he mattered to Christ.
Are we telling students that they matter? Are we sure they know God has something planned for their lives, or are we blind to the fact that any one of our students could be convinced that he or she is useless? We need to touch their lives with the Word of God, instilling hope and the truth of their value everyday. If we choose not to do this, they may be in the same place where I was that night of my senior year, not looking at what could be, but hoping to dictate what wouldn’t ever be again.