Strippers, demons, and perverted celebrities. Unnecessary profanity, hardened hearts, and the invitation of being possessed. How am I to lead young people to Jesus in such a corrupt world, where they are surrounded by this stuff? I sank into brokenness. Tuesday night, the 15th, I was a wreck. Do you ever have a sleepless night? A night passing by so slowly, full of tears and a broken heart? As I said goodnight to the Nunes family for my last night in Canada, I was tossing and turning on that lovely air-mattress. After about an hour, I decided to take the plug out of the air mattress, fold up the blankets, and head downstairs to sit by the fire.
As I poured my heart out into my journal, searching the scriptures that our good God has written us, I was broken. I was so confused and unsure of what I was doing with my life. I was scared, uncomfortable, and shattered. Why? Because of the fallen world we live in. The day before, I heard about this whole Miley Cyrus thing that happened at the MMA awards. Call me sheltered and under a rock, I don't mind, but I had no idea about this mess. I am so behind. Later that day I watched a news clip on Beyonce and how she asks Sasha (I think that was her name) to enter her body before each performance; that she literally asks a "thing" (I believe in demons and evil forces) to possess her. I was broken for them, for their lost souls in deep need of a savior. I was broken for their fans, for the many young and old people who follow them. Who love them. Who want to be them. I was broken.
I then stumbled upon a promoted music video that was “liked” by one of my students. A student I have invested in more than any, a student I cherish & love deeply. I had time, so I clicked on it to see what they like to watch/listen to. This was when I broke in half. I mean, my heart ripped and the floodgates opened and I was in shambles. Every part of me that once held confidence was now shattering in explosion.
The entire video was of strippers, impure sex scenes, and the curse word that rhymes with duck. At least one of my precious students had watched this, and then "liked" it, which promoted it. I sank and I cried out to God. What am I doing? How have I lived under such a shelter? A rock? 24 hours earlier, I was shopping with Haley and playing with Oliver, without a heavy care in the world. I kept repeating these questions to God, "Can I just hide in the mountains and make jam? This whole being a true following disciple, leading others towards you without mediocrity, it is hard and painful. It seems impossible. How am I supposed to fearlessly lead these students in such a contaminated and corrupt world?" I know that there is good in this world. That the Holy Spirit dwells in people and that there is so much good...but in this moment, I was so confused and felt a heavy weight on my heart.
I had no answer, but around 3 am I fell asleep with peace from this promise: "The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; He rescues those whose spirits are crushed."
As I spent the next day on the bus and airplane, I kept asking God if I should be more engrossed in this worlds corruptness - at the heart of my questioning (I now realize), I was asking if I should pursue a lifestyle that was less pure, for the sake of knowing what our students were up against. What their brains were being polluted with. I was asking this constantly for four days.
Finally, He made it clear to me this morning. No, do not pursue a life less pure. In fact, continue to pursue purity in all aspects but with more vigor. "God blesses those whose hearts are pure, for they will see God." (Matthew 5:8). When we are pure and pursue purity, we are put in the presence of the living God. James 4:8 says that when we "come close to God, and God will come close to" us. It says, "wash your hands, purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world."
In order to lead these young people closer to the feet of Jesus, I must refrain from jumping into that muck and engrossing my heart in the impurities of the world. I must stay strong in the Lord, pursuing purity, and thus being put into the presence of the Lord. For if I am in the presence of the Lord, then and only then can I lead them into that presence as well; if I am pursuing purity, with vigor and passion.
I can do this (and so can you) by the strength of the Lord. Do you have any one you are leading closer to the feet of Jesus? If not, why not? Pursue purity with all that you are. You will be put in the presence of the Lord, and I assure you, there is no where better to be. That is the best place to lead from...and to. Pursue purity and cling tightly to the strength of the Lord.
"The Sovereign Lord is my strength! He makes me as surefooted as a deer, able to tread upon the heights." Habakkuk 3:19