SALT STORY : Josh Fitzgerald
It has now been a little over two years since I started actually acknowledging what faith in Jesus is. I attend a private Christian high school, so claiming to be a Christian is not an outrageous or head turning fact that equates to social suicide. There are a lot of people at my school who have the title of Christian but, let’s be honest, most have the Christian label on them but you wouldn’t know that unless they told you. It’s common to know people who identify as Christian but impulsively go out and make ill advised choices.
As frustrating as this can be for high schoolers who crave to be surrounded by intentional believers who will encourage them in their faith, it also allows for a great and unique opportunity for many high schoolers to come to be reconciled with the Lord. This has been something that I have been upset about in the past. I spent my first four to five months, of intentionally seeking the Lord, with maybe one or two people my age who had the same passion; almost all of the people who were following Jesus around me were twenty-two years and older, I was sixteen. A community of high schoolers who wanted the same thing as me was a prayer that I knew all too well during that time. But even as I write this blog, it has been such a blessing to see many unexpected friends seeking to know more about God. I have seen friends who went from being an atheist and crazy party animal to baptized and having God claim them as His child. What an absolute blessing to be able to see! I have yelled at the Lord. I have been infuriated. I have even been extremely close, on multiple occasions, to give up and throw my relationship with the Lord away. But through all that, He has shown unending grace through the blessing of seeing those around me experience His goodness.
I have also had multiple, if not many, friends who have come to faith for a short period of time and then go back to the less than great things that they were doing before. As easy as it is for me to be writing this and judge them and their place with the Lord right now, don’t we all do that in some ways sometime? We all doubt the Lord. We all question God and where He was in certain situations. We all look to other things from time to time in seeking gratification to mask insecurities that we would rather not bring to the Lord; and this creates separation from us and God. This realization has led me to not want to somewhat hypocritically accuse my peers of not caring about their faith, instead makes me appreciative of the time God was a priority in their life. There is so much that the Lord can do with that. Whether that’s in 6 years or 60 years, God can use those experiences to remind those friends about how good He is. It is not my job to know the fruit that comes from my interactions with my friends, I can only strive to represent Christ in all conversations I have with those around me. I hope that I will be able to rejoice where I see the goodness of God; and fight for my brothers and sisters when they do experience doubt and struggle.
I would say that most of all, being a Christ follower in high school is something that I am thankful for because I am able to learn about the Lord and His character and know that I still have so much more time to see God move in many more ways in the future. Be it through missions trips, conversations with family members, or interactions with complete strangers… there is a sense of excitement that I have to see what the Lord has in store. And more than anything, I am able to be with Him through it all, a blessing I cannot even begin to start expressing enough gratitude for.