Mentoring a group of guys for a year is like a roller-coaster ride. Somehow you know it’s going to be good in the end, but you’re never prepared for all the ups and downs, the shock of the sharp curves, and the unexpected drops that literally make you sick for a minute. (At least they do me!)
You see one man open up, share his heart, and invite God to change everything about him that’s not like Jesus. You see another play Sunday school; say just enough to seem involved, but stay hidden, cut off, and alone. Just when you think a mentee is ready for a breakthrough, he runs and hides from the truth. But then you see a man who has stiff-armed God forever surrender in tears. And you weep.
There’s one exercise in Radical Mentoring no one seems to escape. Every year, the “Letter from God” arrives during Commencement Retreat. (View the exercise here.)
The men are sent off in solitude. They’re instructed to acknowledge God’s power and authority over them (and everything). They confess whatever could cause static on the line between them and God, and they thank Him for His forgiveness.
Then, with pen in hand, they ask God to write them a letter. Yes, God. Asked to write a personal letter. To them. Individually.
To start, they write “Dear ________” and fill in their name. Then, following the pattern in Revelation, when God spoke letters to the churches, they ask, “God, what are you proud of me for?” and then write down what comes into their minds. This continues with things like “God, what do you hold against me?” and “What will life be if I don’t repent from what you hold against me?” and “What will my life be like if I do repent?” When they finish writing what they sense God is saying to them, they sign the letter “Love, God.”
Every year, the insights the men receive blow them (and me) away. Twenty-year-old wounds find healing. Long avoided conflicts come front and center. Blindspots discover sight. And stuff they’ve stuffed for years bursts into plain view.
God is far more available to us than we think. He loves us so stinkin’ much and wants what’s best for us. It’s us, with our prideful “I can handle it” or our faithless theology that questions when He speaks to us.
God gives us so much affirmation when we seek Him. A few years ago, as one of the guys finished his letter, he wrote these words from God at the end . . .
“You’re one of my favorites!”
Then he burst into tearful laughter.
Isn’t that just like a perfect father? To tell a son he’s one of His favorites? That boy knows his dad told each of His sons the same thing. But that doesn’t make it any less true. Or less meaningful.
Take time this week to seek God. Ask Him to show you what He’s proud of you for . . . what He holds against you. Ask Him to give you a picture of what life will be like if you don’t change and what it might be like if you do. Ask Him for the strength to surrender your will to His. And then do it.
Listen for that “still small voice” to tell you He loves you.
Because He does . . . you’re one of His favorites!
Question: When was the last time you truly asked God to speak to you?
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