Tragedy has been an unwelcome friend recently. News stories and headlines of death, shootings, destruction. My heart has been broken over and over the last few months.
A theater shooting in my own neighborhood. Seeing friends and loved ones grieve. My own hometown shaken.
A little girl who looked too much like my little sister, taken and killed.
A man running wild on the campus I work on with a sword, the guilty relief that he was the only one who died.
A shooting on a college campus, too similar to mine.
And now. Crying children pouring forth from an elementary school in Connecticut. Tears rolling down my face in a coffee shop because it's just too real. Babies becoming adults, their innocence ripped away at the hands of a young man. Too many babies dead.
And I cry because the common denominator in these is young men gone astray. Men from 17-25. Men who desperately need Jesus.
I cry because I have seen the amazing transformation in men of the same age. I see college-aged men do amazing things, love others well, serve God faithfully.
Those men desperately needed Jesus.
And there are other men that are going astray. That are thinking about shootings, about ending life, about evil. And I just want them to know Jesus.
I want them to see his love. I want these broken men to know the fullness of the God who made them. I want Jesus to restore the broken and hurting in them.
I love college students. I love their passions, their independence, and their moldability. They come into college like wet cement, waiting for an impression.
College is the time in our lives where we are shaped into the people we become the rest of our lives. We decide who we are, what we believe in, what makes us happy and what makes us mad. We find jobs and spouses. We settle down for the rest of our lives.
This is the most pivotal time in all of our lives.
And during that time in those men's lives, something went astray. These young men, broken just like you and I, went astray.
I can't go back in time and tell them about Jesus and how he loves them. But I can tell others about Jesus. I can hope that by sharing his love and knowing that he is the one who changes hearts. I can hope that the unending love of Christ will change other hearts. I can pray for other young men going astray.
I can trust Jesus.
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit - Psalm 34:18