By Scott Caldwell, Area Director, Young Life Upper East Tennessee
Last Wednesday there was a huge thunderstorm—wind, lightning and thunder followed by blinding rain, hail, and streams of water flowing like rivers down sidewalks. If you found yourself driving your car in the middle of this blinding rainstorm (or any other), I know the first three steps you took to navigate the storm. The first step makes sense to me: You slowed way down. To avoid another car, or a puddle and ultimately a wreck, you slowed down. The second one makes no sense to me…but we all do it: You turned the radio down. I don’t know why we do it, but we do. . . as if to say, “Not Now, Katy Perry…I gotta get through this storm!” The truth is, it’s our effort to minimize distraction while trying to maximize safety. The third step makes more sense to me, but it’s still a funny picture: we all become grandmas. . . we lean way forward with our chin hovering right above the steering wheel. Sound familiar?
All three actions are a necessary part of navigating not only a thunderstorm, but everyday life. As the wind blows and the rains come, we need space to slow down, turn the radio down (get rid of distractions), and lean forward to focus on where our lives are heading. The best way to do this is simply spending time alone with the Lord in His Word and in prayer. I mean literally setting aside 20-30 minutes each day free from noise and crowds and hurry to let the Lord remind you who He is, who you are, what He’s done for you, what He wants for you and how He might want to use you. C.S. Lewis said, “The very moment you wake up each morning, all your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals. And the first job each morning consists simply in shoving them all back; in listening to that Other Voice, taking that other point of view, letting that other larger, stronger, quieter life come flowing in.”
That “Other Voice” is the voice of the Lord…a voice that whispers that you were created by Him with a purpose and that you are His beloved. It’s a voice that leads you away from harm and collisions caused by sin. It’s a voice that helps you navigate storms in your own life AND prepares you to help others navigate the storm as well. Ultimately, slowing down, getting rid of distractions and leaning forward is about developing eyes to see. . . not just about where God is leading you in your own life, it’s also about to whom He’s leading you. When I see with His eyes, I see opportunities to be a light in a dark place. . . I see ways to help someone avoid wrecks, collisions and disaster in the midst of their life’s storms.
For me, and in Young Life, the ministry I’ve gladly served the past 18 years, that means reaching into the lives of teenagers who are disinterested in the Lord and, unfortunately, often are instead interested in things that are both destructive and disappointing. Maybe you’ll see the same need I see. . . maybe you’ll see a different need – regardless, you’ll be seeing. Who knows who the Lord might bring into view as you regain your vision. . . as you spend time with Him and see as He sees? It all starts by slowing down, turning down the radio and leaning forward. “Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped.” Isaiah 35:5
Young Life’s mission is:
Introducing Adolescents To Jesus Christ and Helping them Grow in their Faith. Young Life is active throughout the Tennessee area. Young Life’s ministry reaches more than 685,000 teenagers in the United States alone and is currently active in 93 countries throughout the world.