This morning I woke up and remembered my dream.
It was in color. I was sitting with my mother and I was being introduced. I was going to address an audience. Hurriedly, I was asking my mother questions and jotting down notes. I wasn’t sure what exactly I was going to say once I spoke. And when I stood there and opened my mouth these words began to flow out:
I am so happy and honored that you all invited me here to speak today. It truly is an honor to be chosen to speak here on a day devoted to youth, with an audience filled with so many young people. I am at an interesting point in my life where I am not exactly the age of those who invited me to speak, but not exactly the age of those who I am primarily being asked to speak to and I wont be that age ever again so that is why I rushed to accept the invitation to speak at a youth day.
So what all do I want to say to you ‘youth’, you beautiful young people? What words can I impart to those who may one day stand in this spot, to those who will be blessed enough to sit in the back one Sunday morning when their children are sitting in the front, on youth day? What do I say? I have thought this over and I am compelled to share with you these three lessons that I have learned, experience, benefited from and know that I will only be able to continue to move on or ahead because of them.
First, I must impart on you the idea that you must never let go. You must never give in. You must not stop. You must not lose sight. You must not take your hands off. You must fight to the finish. You must run on to the end. The Bible tells us the story of a man who entered a cave one night. He entered this dark place with not much knowledge of what was all going to be in there. All he knew is that in this dark place, separated from the rest of the world, which was also at this time of evening dark, that he was going to face a fight. Hr also knew that when he got in that cave and started fighting that losing the battle was not an option. He knew that no matter what he had to fight.
My, my young people – let us park here for a minute. For while I say the Bible tells us of this man who entered a dark cave where he didn’t know who or what exactly was in there, we know that we live in that very cave – or world today. Times are not as they used to be. Violence is rampant. Lust is fills the air. Integrity is often absent. Temptation surrounds. Envy is common. Bling bling is the thing thing that drives us to chase and pursue all the wrong things. We are in a dark place. A dark cave and it is often hard to see what is truly behind or ahead of us but we must seek light. We must seek light and we know that in order to come out of this cave, to get that light, to create light around us, that we will only get it by doing it on our own, by putting up a fight.
So in the Biblical story, the man is in this cave, he has entered and the fight is on. He is bruised. He is beaten. They wrestle. They roll on the floor. They bump against the walls. They rumble. All night long.
They both get a little tired. They both get a little weary. But they continue. Hours pass.
And they wrestle.
And they roll on the floor.
Hours pass and they bump against the walls.
And they rumble.
Alas, it looks like the day is going to break outside the cave.
This being says to the man – okay, I’ve had enough of this fighting let me go.
The man says to him – No! I won’t let you go until you bless me. Not until I have won.
Sit with me on the side again young people, in this life, right now, the one that you are living there are going to be obstacles, threats, hills, valleys – there are going to be fights that you face in your quest for personal greatness – living your best life, living the life that God intended for you to live is not going to be easy. In fact it will get harder and harder along your journey but you have to remember is that you can’t stop fighting, you can’t let go – not until you get your blessing! Not until the sunrises! Not until!
So let life toss you. Roll on the floor with it. Bump against the wall with it. Do what you got to do but don’t let go.
My second point lends itself to the first, which was don’t give up, it is do your part.
Now, no matter how young you are I am sure that you have read or been told the great story of Moses leading his people out of slavery and harsh conditions. Everyone loves this story because it is a fantastic illumination of what God can do. He parted a sea. Imagine that, God, in his almighty power made water part. Not just some water, but a whole sea so that his people could get across on their path to freedom. My, my. What an awesome power he is.
But what I marvel at when this story is retold is not just what God did for his people, but at what the people he chose did.
When we examine the text we learn that Moses was given instruction to get to a certain point, raise his stick and the water would part. Next all of his followers would have a minimal amount of time to run across to the other side before the water would return to its normal flow.
Note young people, Moses had to lift the stick. This alone exhibited great faith and Moses had to exercise that great faith. The water just didn’t move automatically when people got there. Moses had to do something.
Note young people, God moved the water, he didn’t move the people. Stop. Think about. We always pray and ask God to do things for us. We must ask ourselves what are we doing to prepare ourselves to receive what God has for us and moreover. Are we doing are part. Praying to get into college means nothing if you haven’t filled out the application, young people. Then we also got folks who want blessings that they are not prepared to receive. You say you want a new car – do you have money for gas? Stop. Think about it. We must also ask, are we doing what we are supposed to in order for God to bless us?
The part about the story of Moses parting the Red Sea that moves me is that those folks had sense of enough to move themselves. God didn’t part the sea and then levitate everyone and take them across – although he could have. Instead he parted the sea and said run for yourself! The Promise Land is on the other side and I have made a way for you but you must exercise the free will that I have given to you and run to get there yourself. Old folks always remind us that God will make a way out of no way and I’m here to remind you young people that it is up to you to follow that way.Then I woke up.