Packing Peace for the Ride Home
Today we finished our High School summer camp week, it was incredible to see God pursue students regardless of their past and watch their hearts turn toward Him. I love to watch the progression of the week at camp as students, many of whom are experiencing a level of safety not available in normal everyday life, soften to the work of God in their lives. Over the years in Student Ministry I’ve learned that the kids I’m probably most prone to think will not have a significant week blow me away.
This week was a really impactful one for our students and I was thrilled to be a part of it. We had students make decisions for Christ for the very first time, students break down the barriers of the areas of their life that God didn’t have control of and tons of students catch a fresh vision for a future where they could walk in freedom and purpose through a relationship with Jesus.
The problem with camp is that it ends. Having served on many camp staffs and walked with thousands of students at camp over the years it is difficult near the end of the week to send them home, very difficult. Some have great support structures and parents who love God and them incredibly well, but the longer I’m involved in ministry the smaller this percentage becomes. Most students are in some sort of broken or neglected home with parents who are unwilling or unable to address what’s really happening in their student’s life. Thursday at camp is generally my tear up night as I think about the serious conversations we’ve had with students and sending home to the same situation they came from.
The lie that many believe when they leave camp is that things will be different, that their parents will get back together, that they’re sibling or friend will stop using drugs, that the spiritual climate of their home will turn around overnight and the reality is that this just isn’t true. But God has a secret weapon in our daily battles and I would love for you to pray with me for our students as they return home with it.
One of the Bible Studies this week highlighted the often cited Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” This passage is often used to say the exact opposite of the actual point of the text. We often hear it used with the thrust of superhero Christianity where we all get capes and every bad situation can be fixed if we’ll just believe. I challenged many of our students this week to read the text in context and discuss with me what they actually thought it meant. We discovered that Paul is thanking the Philippians for their support in prison just before this verse and he wanted to clarify that he isn’t thankful because of what he got. He says that he has learned to live with plenty and with poverty because he has discovered the secret of being content. The secret is that he can endure every circumstance God brings in his life through Jesus. If we go back to verses 4-7 of the same chapter we see that this attitude brings a supernatural peace in the midst of difficult situations.
The truth of God is that peace is available regardless of our circumstances and that artificial spiritual heroics are dangerous and unsustainable. Please pray with us for our students and the many who are returning from camps this summer that they would see their life as an opportunity to choose joy and experience peace everyday because a sovereign God has established the path they are on and the challenges they face…