Jesus Is Our Hope
"I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly." (John 10:10, NKJV)
When my wife and I lived in California, a pastor who was a friend of ours asked if we would visit a small Native reservation in the hills a short drive from town. He had counseled a 15-year-old boy two years prior who was talking about committing suicide. The young boy felt pressured and bullied by some of the young men selling drugs on the reservation. He felt trapped with no way to escape.
When we arrived on the reservation, we noticed there was only one road in and one out. We drove down the steep winding hill into the community and there was an overwhelming feeling of darkness. We met the pastor and his family at the only church located there. He told us of the poverty in their community and how a group of young men who could have gone to find work in town were too proud to leave the reservation and their way of life.
The pastor explained how people from a larger reservation about two hours away would bring food to their community every month. However, in the process, someone supplied their young people with powerful drugs.
Through much prayer with the pastor and fellow Christians in that community, we started to see changes from less darkness to more light. We continue to pray for the people on this reservation and the young people who face obstacles in their lives on all our Indian reservations across our nation.
In this season of Advent, as we look back to the time when Jesus was born into this world, we recognize He came as the Light of this world. As children of God, we have this same Light in us. As we go out into those dark places, the Light of Jesus is always with us.
Thank You, Lord, for being the True Light that breaks through all darkness in the world and leads people to see the truth. Amen.
- Deacon Tom Benzler (Ioway), Olympic Peninsula, Washington
Lutheran Indian Ministries is actively reaching out to Native communities affected by suicide. Read about Bob Prue's mission trip to one such community in "Death Toll for Hopelessness Rises."