I have a great many wonderful memories about high school and that period of my life. But I also have some very painful reflections, even all these years later. I did not attend a really huge school, as my graduating class had only 129 students. I would compare my school to Clear Spring High School relative to the composition of the community and student body. To my knowledge, there was only one other Christian in that group of 129, though I know some have come to know the Lord since then.
My good memories come from the classes and school days, and particularly the sponsored after school extra-curriculars. The bad memories come from just about everything else beyond that.
It seemed to me that most of my classmates lived for the weekend… to anticipate a beer party somewhere and then to talk and gloat about what happened until the next adventure came around. I remember early evening returns to the school from away games where the camaraderie was great; but the entire scene would change as I was the one person left behind to simply go home, as the rest of them went out on a drinking binge.
I have memories of lying awake in the middle of the night and hearing emergency vehicles going out the primary connecting country road we lived on … wondering who of my school friends might have crashed into a tree this time. It was so pervasive, I almost developed a 6th sense about what was happening. I recall one Friday evening where I got up in the middle of the night, went downstairs and watched out the window for the ambulance to return past our house toward the hospital. My mother heard me go down the steps and followed to see what was wrong. I told her that I felt certain someone I knew was hurt; and sure enough – a couple of them had crashed into a stone wall just a few miles up the road. They survived with few serious injuries, though none the wiser. I knew I did not want to be any part of that scene, but I also knew I was pretty much all alone in my values. It was often a depressing time.
Do you often feel alone in your world, completely out of step with the majority of people around you? The reason for that is because you are! You have been called out of this world and into the kingdom of His Son. That is what the Greek word for “church” literally means. “Ekklesia” is the combination of two words… “ek” = out of, and “kaleo” = to call. So you are part of a fellowship of people called out of the rest of the world to be a part of God’s family.
This sense of being a square peg in a round hole, and being disliked for it, is common-ground experience we share with Christ. Jesus said…
JN 15:18 “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. 19 If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.
I remember one particular occasion of being dropped off at my home after a high school game by an older teammate who could drive, and him saying, “You don’t go out drinking to the parties do you… man, you are so stupid… you don’t know what you are missing.” The world is amazed that we would not just follow along in their patterns. Here is how Peter spoke of it…
1PE 4:1 Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because he who has suffered in his body is done with sin. 2 As a result, he does not live the rest of his earthly life for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God. 3 For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do–living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry. 4 They think it strange that you do not plunge with them into the same flood of dissipation, and they heap abuse on you. 5 But they will have to give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.
It really is a beer party world. And it is a challenge for us all, but especially our teens, to see the temporary and foolish nature of this world. We need to focus on the eternal… to make that focus the main idea we identify from the God’s grand story in order to live successfully in this Christian life.
1JN 2:15 Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For everything in the world–the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does–comes not from the Father but from the world. 17 The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.