This afternoon, I’ll sit beside old people ravaged by dementia or bloated with cancer, holding hands or stroking their foreheads, passing through my fingertips the love of Christ and His abiding love for the wonder of their humanity.
This morning though is different. This morning, I stand before a host of junior high students, amazingly beautiful kids, healthy, barely balanced on the cusp of adulthood. Their lives are like that thin streak of light, rocketing upward on the 4th of July, triggered within to explode at any second into glorious color and overcoming light. I feel Christ within me, reaching out to them, calling them into the adventure and power of a moment-by-moment passionate relationship with God who designed and crafted each one to His eternal purpose.
“How stupid would it be,” I ask them, handing my I-phone to a wide-eyed girl, “if someone gave you this machine we call a ‘smart-phone,’ and all you ever did with it was make phone calls? Just phone calls. No games. No texting. No maps. No Facebook. No internet. No camera. You NEVER use it for anything except to make phone calls.”
“Look around you,” I urge them. “So many Christians live like that. They come to the cross, God forgives all their sin, and they stumble along for the rest of their lives waiting for the Rapture, believing that this alone, this one spiritual app -- His willingness to forgive -- is the sum total of their Christian life. They never reach beyond that, never ask themselves, ‘Hey, what else can this thing do?’ Look! Scripture says God ‘has given us’ (past tense) ‘EVERY spiritual blessing in the heavenly realm’! So how many Christians ever discover applications like power? Joy? Peace? Rest? Prophecy? Healing? Contentment? True freedom? Love? Love? Love?”
Students listen. They question. They respond gratefully. I pray for them, walking among them, touching their heads. One girl shudders. While I’ve taught, Christ in me has noticed a discomfort behind her beauty, a disconnectedness that prompts her to shrink in her seat, turning to avoid exposure even as she listens intently.
Later on with the office’s permission, I find her. We find a long bench on a school portico, and she talks. We pray together for Christ to forgive her, to erase all her fears and failings; that He would breathe His own presence into her body; and that He would so love her as to live His life in and through her forever. At the close, she’s visibly awe-struck, crying and laughing in amazement. “What are you feeling?” I ask her. “Mr. Diamond,” she responds, “ever since I was a baby, I’ve carried around this weight, this heavy thing that hung over me every day, everywhere. For the very first time ever, it’s gone! It’s gone, Mr. Diamond. It’s gone, and I’ve never felt this before.”
How rich is this? How good is God? What an amazing thing that, in part through you, He has put us in a place where we can so freely and easily dispense His life, His freedom and grace? I have no words to express the joy of this ministry except to say, “Thank you! Thank you! Thank you for walking with us in this incredible adventure!”
You are deeply loved and appreciated.