I wanted to share this post I wrote almost a year ago. This Wednesday Elevate Youth Ministries will be premiering the documentary of the trip to India. Lives were forever changed. . . IWNLA
You’ve seen her; the girl that sits in the corner of the room alone. Every once in a while you might see her talking with someone else, but for the most part she’s by herself. You’ve seen other girls tease her and call her names. Remember that time you walked in the bathroom, and you heard someone crying in the stall next to you? It was her.
Did you look away?
I just spent the most amazing weekend at our youth retreat for church. The theme for the weekend was I Will Not Look Away. You see, we have spent the last two months as a student ministry raising money to build an orphanage for 50 kids in India partnering with Dominic Russo’s The Angel House.
Our youth group got up and did something. What we did was raise money not for 1 orphanage but for 2! The thought of so many kids without homes, food, education, love . . . How could we look away?
I realize you may not be in a place to help build an orphanage, but there are so many times in a day that you are faced with a choice. Do you look away, or do you get up and do something?
Take a look at the girl from the beginning of this post. I know you’ve seen this very scenario or something similar. These kinds of things are happening all around you regardless of where you live. So often, people turn their heads and pretend they don’t see what’s going on. They rationalize by saying it’s okay because they aren’t the ones being mean.
Is that you? Do you turn your head with a rationalization in your mind? Or are you the girl sitting alone and crying in the bathroom?
I was the girl crying in the bathroom. Oddly enough, I was also the girl who looked away and sometimes even joined in with teasing the lonely girl. Isn’t it strange that one can be a participant in both parts?
I do know someone who didn’t look away, and it quite possibly saved the life of another person. This is a true story.
You see, there was a teacher who didn’t want to be in the school she was in. It wasn’t that she didn’t like it. She actually loved the school and her colleagues, but she desperately yearned to be with her own children. She knew she was supposed to be in this particular school, though, and now she knows why.
At the beginning of the year, a new student came to her class. She immediately thought this student was going to be trouble but found over the next couple of weeks that he was just a quiet boy who didn’t seem to hang out with any of the other students. The teacher would try to talk to him because she has a genuinely loving heart for all of the students who pass through her doors. She wanted to know more about him and found herself becoming concerned because he stayed closed off.
He started hanging out with a girl at school, and they became very close very quickly, which caused even more of a concern for this teacher. What she saw was a toxic combination on so many levels.
The teacher was at a church service one evening and couldn’t get it out of her head that she needed to ask this boy to come to a youth service. This, of course, is a very big “no no” for a teacher in a public school, but she couldn’t shake it.
The next day she asked this student to church, and of course, he thought it was weird. He said he would think about it, but it was easy to see he felt awkward that his teacher asked this. Neither said anything else about it again.
The following week, the girl broke up with the boy, and he struggled with processing it. His feelings and emotions took over, and he didn’t know what to do, so he found himself making some detrimental choices.
The grandmother emailed this teacher asking if she would, once again, ask this boy to come to church that night because he was struggling with some things. Unfortunately, this student was escorted out of the school before the teacher got a chance, and he could not return to the campus.
The teacher questioned God asking Him why she felt such an urgency to reach out to this boy when he was just going to be taken away from her so quickly. It wasn’t until the following week that she realized that wasn’t how it happened at all.
You must remember that God always – let me say that again – ALWAYS knows what’s ahead and plans perfectly for it.
The week following the incident with this student, the teacher received word that he was planning on coming to youth service that very night! He did go to service, and everyone was witness to God moving in this boy in a big way – especially the teacher.
He decided to go to a retreat the following weekend. At the retreat he decided to accept Christ into his life. He smiles now. He seems excited about life! He’s finding his purpose.
You may have already figured out that the teacher was myself, and I am amazed at how God used me to reach out to this boy. Before, he wasn’t sure he still wanted to live life. God is amazing, and it wasn’t that he had me reach out to this student and then took him away. It was that God knew the desperation that was about to happen within him and urged me to be his lifeline before it happened.
I think about what could have happened had I looked away. Would this student have done something drastic with his life because he felt alone? Praise God, we will never know the answer to that question!
I’m not telling you this story to pat myself on the back. I’m telling it to let you know God wants to use you. One thing I learned this weekend is that, if you make yourself available, God will make you capable. You can make a difference if you don’t look away. I took a risk by doing what I knew without a doubt God asked me to do all while being fully aware that my job was at stake. God totally protected me during that moment.
Just by me stepping up and reaching out to this student, I have already touched the lives of at least 3 people. His family has been touched without me even meeting them. Just by our student ministry stepping up and raising money to build 1 orphanage, God supplied us with an abundance of funds making it possible to build 2 (as well as 2 water wells and a church!), and Dominic Russo is taking our concept and presenting it all over the country. We intended to save the lives of 50 kids, and it turned into thousands. When you don’t look away — when you get up and do something — you’ll touch more lives than you’ll ever know.
I’m urging you, friend, to not look away. Will you make a commitment to yourself and God that you will never look away? When it presents itself to you tomorrow, are you going to get up and do something?