My Message to Middle Schoolers… (or Myself).

Wiggling, squirming, “falling” out of their chairs… giggling, snorting, popcorn missing their mouths and hitting the floor. Eighteen middle school kids halfway listened as I told them a story from John 9.

“The blind man was calling out for money, not able to see who was passing by. But Jesus saw him.”

These kids don’t know what they need. Some of them are just here because their nervous friend dragged them along to help them check out the after school club at that church by the school. Some are here because they saw a weirdo dressed in a shark costume, dancing around the sidewalk and giving out high-fives in front of the church as they walked home from school… and they couldn’t resist stopping inside to see what was up.

But whether they see their need or not – whether they ask for help or not – whether they are blinded by their pain, boys, or video games – Jesus sees them.

This isn’t the kind of seeing that you might do when you people-watch at the airport or the mall… or Wal-Mart. This is the compassion kind of seeing. The kind of seeing you do when you are so moved by the suffering or pain of another person that you can’t help but do something about it.

“I am the Light of the World!” Jesus announces when he sees the blind man – and then He immediately heals the blind man and gives him back his sight (John 9:5).

And then my own words boomerang and hit me in my heart as I speak them. No matter what my own struggle is – heartache, emptiness, loss, fear – and no matter what I am asking for to solve my struggle – money, attention, education, love, stability – the Light of the world sees me, knows what I really need, and has the power to heal me.

In words stolen from my charismatic history, THAT’LL PREACH!

Even if that wiggling crowd of 7th graders didn’t quite grasp the depth of my words or the reason for my excitement with this ancient man Jesus… I know that at least one 37-year old understood and felt the Truth just a little bit deeper as she spoke it (or rather – yelled it above the din).

My words ring in my head, but not for them – for me: “Jesus matters because He shows us who God really is: a God who sees me, a God who knows me, a God who loves me, and a God who heals me.”

If only we could all stop wiggling around long enough to let those words sink deep into our souls. Then we might all be able to say with confidence: “I know one thing for sure: I was blind… but now I see!” (John 9:25)

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