What frustration! What madness and utter hopelessness!! The feeling that truth and reason are slipping away is maddening. Combine that with the fact that you are talking to a person who deliberately is turning away from God, knows it and doesn’t care is enough to make one sick to his stomach. Allow me to clarify.
This past weekend: Not a weekend of rest. To begin, the youth from church were at our place on Friday night to play a variety of outdoor games. Slightly overcast with that fall nip that is becoming prevalent, we did have good times just hanging out together and having fun. My grandparents from KY were around so that added to the evening’s specialness. This event had originally been scheduled about 2 months earlier but for some reason or other, I forget, it had to be pushed out to a later date. I was hoping that it would be pushed out until next year but the rest of the youth committee made sure that it would happen before winter. I say “rest” as I myself am on the committee. My term is up at the end of this month and I believe that only gave impetus to make the evening happen. Snack was….something. I forget. I’m a guy and as long as it’s food, all is well. Later on, a group of us hung around a campfire; sometimes close, sometimes not, depending on the height of the flames.
As could be expected, I got to bed at a later hour than what is usually deemed proper. After all, tomorrow is Saturday, no? Yes, except I was playing in the Middlefield volleyball tournament. Since it is a 2 hour drive, I started rather early, 5:30AM to be precise. If the youth activity the evening before had been any other weekend, I would have gone up Friday night and gotten a decent night of sleep. As it was. it marked the 4th morning in a row that I got up at 4 or 4:30. Trivia aside, the volleyball was a blast! My team didn’t even make the playoffs but we still had fun. Afterward, when the playoffs were in progress, I felt the lack of sleep. So, instead of hanging out with all my friends like I really wanted to do, I went home early. I agonized over doing it ‘cuz, like any other humanoid, I’m a social being and hanging out with friends ranks fairly high on my list. However, if it wouldn’t have been for Sunday night, I probably would have stayed the night in Middlefield.
Sunday night The 3rd and final part to my run-around weekend. Our church had a hymn sing planned for the evening service and they were so good as to put me in charge. Not! I enjoy music and singing but the planners felt that they should use me while I’m still around. So, a-singing we did go. I did not feel as if I was at my peak but the worship part of the evening was felt. What helped me was I had done my studying a couple weeks earlier when I had a free evening and, in preparation, I did not feel rushed. But the mountaintop worship experience was hampered by the stark reality that someone in the audience was not feeling as close to God as the rest of us were. In fact, he would go as far as to say that he is on the ‘other‘ side.
The Somber Reality: This person is a young man of 17. He was adopted by a couple in our church when he was quite young and has struggled to cope seemingly ever since. Everybody in church knows that he has been difficult to work with and some of us have tried, in our own way, to reach out to him. Our family has, for the past year and a half, invited him over to our place to help with sundry activities on random Saturdays. He really can work if he makes up his mind he will. The problem is convincing him to do so. Part of his problem is that his mother was on drugs before she gave birth to him and the difference is noticeable even to this day. He is very stubborn once he has made up his mind about anything and any issue. We actually thought that he had made a change at the last revival meetings that we had in our church but that hasn’t lasted. He claims he hasn’t read the Bible in the past 10 years, something that we know for a fact is untrue. But back to Sunday night. After the benediction, Neil, my younger brother, confronted Brandon about some writing that Neil noticed on Brandon’s hand during the service. On the palm of his hand, he had written, ‘satan rules my heart‘. On his wrist/lower forearm was ‘the sycthe‘ and ‘death worship‘. Before hymnsing began, he asked me to sing the song, “We are Going Down the Valley“. I was standing beside Neil when he confronted him and my heart sank when I saw that. I knew that in speaking to him, we couldn’t tiptoe around the bush. It had to be direct. So 4 of us youth guys began trying to talk with him. Too often, we try to win him by arguments but he is too, and I use this kindly, stupid to comprehend them and too bull-headed to listen. But it was different this time, I think. We got him to speak what and why he believes and then tried to answer him. He says he doesn’t read the Bible because it doesn’t have enough action. In his words, “I don’t want to read nothing that doesn’t have non-stop action, 24/7“. When asked, he said that he only read Revelations. We told him to read the 1, 2, and 3 John and asked him how hard it was to understand that God is Love. He started to get a little antsy and acted like he thought his mom was ready to leave. We all could see that we had gotten somewhere with him but couldn’t push the point further because he just bulled his way out of the group. It really is sad. He thinks things would be better if he would go back to his birth mom in Texas. Everyone else thinks that that would be a disaster. And yet, he won’t listen and I wonder, will he ever? He knows he would go to hell if he died now but he doesn’t really care. We tried to get him to see the truth but what more can we do?
What is there to do besides pray? Really, it did throw a damper on my spirits that still remains with me…