“Jeremy, you’re a pastor right?”
I turned to see the source of this query and saw my 6th grade friend, Trevor.
“Yep! What’s up?” I replied.
“Okay cool. I’ve got a big question that’s been hard for me lately. If God is love and created us on purpose like we talk about at youth group, then why is there rape, murder, violence, and shit like that in the world? I’m just not sure what to think right now” Trevor paused, afraid that his language would have offended me.
From what I know of his life, Trevor doesn’t come from a family that talks about this stuff at home. When he started coming to youth group this summer it was intermittent and seemed to only be when his friends were going to be there.
Despite a limited background Trevor revealed in his questions that he was at a crossroads. He felt in-between. Unable to continue following a God he didn’t have complete confidence in yet not wanting to walk away from a love that he deeply believes in.
“Those are awesome questions. Let’s sit down.”
We talked for a while about free will, redemption, and reconciliation and what our role could be in being proactive peacemakers in the world. We ended up asking way more questions together than we made answers.
This week Trevor reminded me that we need to ask questions. We need to challenge. We need to wrestle with this and other important issues.
It isn’t okay to walk away or give up without seeking an answer. So many people in my generation and peer group have walked away from the Church because they felt their questions and doubts wouldn’t be received well by the people of God. They didn't feel like it was a safe enough space for them.
Trevor reminded me that church needs to be the safest place to ask those questions and to wrestle. The church needs to be a place where we can ask questions like Trevor's and many others.
Please don't walk away. We won't always get it right. Sometimes we won't wrestle with questions well. On behalf of the Church, I beg for your grace for the times we err. Church is hard, but it is worth it.