We want to remember things that make an impact on us, but too often, as time passes, the memory fades. But there is something that happened last week when I was at the CIY conference in Tennessee that I don’t want to forget. I don’t want to forget the memory or the feeling. I could feel the brokenness, I could feel the pain…and then I felt it change.
I’m remembering a young man, I don’t know his name or where he was from. It was the last evening and there were many young people who gathered at the stage to either accept Christ, reconnect with Him or just lay their burdens at the foot of the cross.
Michael asked me to go and pray with two of our students and I was there with them. It was after I was finished praying and hugging on them, that I became keenly aware of a young man near me in great pain.
His young body was shaking from great sobs and his head was hanging low. While still hugging one of our students I just felt compelled to reach out to this student and placed a hand on his back. I could feel the sadness and brokenness coming from him.
I remember when I touched his back it was as if he didn’t feel it at first, he didn’t even flinch. But then as my hand warmed on his back and he quieted, he just gave a big exhale and completely relaxed. The boys from our group left and joined the others so I continued to just keep my hand on this young man.
The young guy turned around and looked at me with a sort of half ashamed/sheepish look and I smiled at him like I would with my own kids,’ like you’re loved and it’s all okay’ and gave him a big hug. He just broke down and hugged me like nobody has ever hugged him before. Then he broke off and disappeared into the crowd.
I don’t remember saying anything to him, the band was playing, it was awful loud, but if ever I felt like Jesus with skin – that was it. I felt honored for Jesus to use me to love on one of his children. I saw His child with His eyes.
Then He opened my eyes to other kids standing around me who just needed a loving hug or touch on the shoulder. A petite girl who I hadn’t even noticed close to the stage alone, smiling when surrounded by hugs, another crying girl to my left, who changed from sad crying to happy crying as friends came to surround her in hugs.
So, no I don’t want to forget those memories or those feelings. I want to tuck them away. To come back to again.