There’s a place in Kentucky called Red River Gorge. A few years back, some friends and I went camping there with our leader, Braylen. I’m the oldest child in my family and I’ve never really had an older brother figure to look up to…until I met Braylen.
That particular Friday, we hiked for about 30 minutes into the Gorge -almost entirely uphill. As we were getting ready to make a fire and
set up camp, we realized we’d forgotten to grab some gear out of the car. I
volunteered to hike back down. Braylen offered to go with me.
Braylen is a guy who functions a lot on impulse. If he thinks it, he does it. He loves spontaneity and he loves a challenge. Before we made our way down this steep trail, Braylen looked at me and said, “You and I are going to race down this mountain!” I quickly considered the dangerous outcomes of “racing” down a steep hill but ended up smiling at Braylen and accepting his challenge. Thankfully, the only injury was a slightly rolled ankle. Once we got to the bottom of the mountain, prompted by nothing other than spending that time together, Braylen turned to me and said, “I really
cherish the friendship I have with you.”
Few times have I ever felt more loved than that moment. I’ll never forget those words. Out of his heart and his deep love for Jesus, Braylen spoke those words to me. He wanted me to know that I was somebody that he
cherished, and that deeply moved me.
We’re made in God’s image, so Genesis 1:26 tells us. With that truth comes the understanding that if we are made in His image, we are like Him. God could have chosen any way He wanted to bring the earth and its contents into being. But what did He do? He spoke it into being (Genesis 1:3; 6; 9, etc.).
Words can speak things into being. Are you going to speak another planet into existence? Probably not. But your words have the power to speak life to those around you.
As Young Life leaders, we often have opportunities to cast vision over the lives of our teenage friends. As you go into their world this week, pray for opportunities in which you can speak life-giving and encouraging words over them.
Words can combat anxiety and bring peace into chaos.
Words can replace lies with truth.
Words can offer hope where there is despair.
And words can cast forward-vision when our friends are
tempted to live in the past.
What powerful words might you speak this week?
Maybe a good place to start is simply by saying the same
9 words that Braylen said to me:
“I really cherish the friendship I have with you.”