Get Out Of The Cave
According to the national institute of mental health, in 2019, suicide was the 10th leading cause of death in the united states. When we talk about pandemics, it is easy to see this is one. We have so many people who have been feeling broken and hopeless. This has also led many people to ask a singular question. “What can I do.” How can I make an impact in my world today? For the past five months, God had me spend most of my time pastoring in an Acute Care Unit for people with homicidal and suicidal ideations. I got to see much of this happening firsthand. Doing tests to see if someone needs to be admitted and much of my time pastoring and loving them at the darkest time of their life. Why do I mention this? I mention this for two reasons. The main reason being it’s not just statistics. It’s real.
When people ask about the experiences in the unit, I often respond with the moments I got punched, yelled at, or screamed at, but I never mention the tears, the hope being restored, and the positive outcomes that have happened. One question I often got from clients when they finally figured out I am a pastor was this. “Where is the church for me?” This question did a few things for me, and I hope it would do a few things for you. The church has a couple of different missions according to the new testament, but one remained constant. “19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20; NIV) When we look at this direct commandment from Jesus, we see it as very simple. Go and share the gospel. The question I have is, are we really doing that. Are we as the church as a whole really meeting people in their pain and their hurt? When these clients asked this question, they were not asking for a physical address. They were asking for the people. The compassion that was supposed to be expressed by Christians that they did not see. When Jesus commanded the people to go and make disciples, He was making an explicit claim to love people the way He did.
So my challenge to our church and the church as a whole is that maybe you personally feel a little bit like Elijah, and you are in your cave scare and afraid. The world has become radically more hostile, which I attribute too much of social media’s fault. Regardless this is the trajectory, but God has called us to something more and something bigger. Elijah hears the still small whisper, and God calls Elijah to have faith in trust in Him and to trust Him on a deeper level. To go and do what God has called him to do! I am asking if you, as a church, will do the same! Let’s go radically love the city God has called us to love by spreading the hope of the gospel to a world that is desperately thirsting for it!
Alex Ghelli – Youth Pastor