Hope. With it, comes a sense of peace, rest, contentment, joy. Without it – fear, anxiousness, sadness, uncertainty. A number of years ago, I was approached by a youth worker at a local youth shelter where I was employed in the classroom. The shelter was a temporary and emergency placement for dependent or delinquent youths ages 10 through 21. The youth worker was aware of my involvement with a young adults Christian ministry and asked if our group would be willing to volunteer in ministry to the shelter residents. This was the beginning of a very busy and rewarding time for the young adults Christian group. Within the same facility, though separate, was the juvenile detention center. After several years, the ministry at the youth shelter expanded into spending time and interacting with youth who resided in the detention center which was made up of alleged delinquent or adjudicated youth, some facing very serious charges.
The intention and ministry of the young adults group was to build relationships with the youth while sharing the love of Christ. You can imagine that most of the youth there faced many uncertainties and difficulties, some self-imposed, others through no fault of their own. Many were hopeless. Too many had not experienced the genuine love of family, but found themselves being bounced from one placement to another throughout their young lives. Our mission was to offer them hope. Not a temporary or fleeting hope that would leave when we walked out the door or upon their release from the shelter or detention facility. We offered eternal hope, the promise of hope from a God who loved every single one of them. A hope that they, as I often told them, could “hang their hat on.”
Hope nugget: May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. (Romans 15:13)