When Jake started coming to City Life he did not seem very interested in any of the talks or lessons that we had. After a few weeks, he came up to me and said that his dad didn’t want him coming to City Life because “he thinks religion is for idiots.” I told Jake that he could leave the room during any of our lessons if that would help his dad feel more comfortable with him being there. While I wanted Jake to be able to hear that portion of our weekly meeting, I knew that the relationship building that happened the rest of the night was probably going to make a bigger impact than a ten-minute talk.
Over the last few months, I have been reminded how difficult it is for some of our kids to understand the love of Christ. It is difficult for them because the “love” that many of them see at home is not what Jesus’ love looks like. I spoke with them about how God invites us into his family during one of our City Life nights and every time I said something positive about family, Jake would shake his head. He gave his input a few times that night during our discussion and shared a lot about why he thinks negatively about family. Afterwards, I thanked him for being vulnerable and his response was “that wasn’t even the half of what I deal with at home.” My heart breaks for Jake, and all the other kids that come to City Life who don’t see family as a positive thing and struggle with the idea of a Father who loves them unconditionally. I am thankful that he comes to City Life and is around people who know Jesus and try to show him Christ’s love.
It has been almost two years since Jake started coming to City Life and he no longer leaves during the lesson portion of our meetings. He hasn’t professed faith in Jesus, but I do know that he feels a lot safer with us than he does anywhere else. If we can be that type of environment for lost kids, I will take that as a win.
*Names have been changed