We brought about 40 students to this retreat. Right now, none of them are talking to each other. Instead, they’re spread out over the course of the place we’re staying and they’re reading their Bible, journaling, or praying.
As I look around there are two guys on the same porch as me, both with about five feet between them to my right. There are two guys sitting on the roof spread out to my left. There’s an area with benches and a cross down a little hill from our lodge and there are students spread out on them. Some are sitting up and reading or journaling. Some are laying down and I can only assume they’re just hanging out with Jesus. I see some girls out on the porch at the other lodge doing the same thing. There’s also a prayer rock down to my right that’s a giant boulder with people sitting on it.
And the cool thing is no one is judging what everyone else is doing.
No one is interrupting what everyone is doing.
Actually, I think I’m the only one noticing what everyone else is doing.
Everyone around seems to be in their own little world and oblivious to all of the other people around them. From my perch above them all it’s a really, really cool thing to look at. See, when I was growing up, I was never given an environment like we have here at AWAKE. I always felt awkward when I would try to pull away and do a quiet time. It always felt like anyone who saw me would ask what I was doing and then I’d have to take time explaining it and all of that. There were always distractions of some sort that would keep me from really pulling away and spending that time with God and no one else.
Seeing our students do just that makes me jealous of them. I wish I would’ve had something like that when I was growing up.
One of the reasons I’m so passionate about student ministry is that I had a youth pastor for a grand total of 13 months from the time I was in 5th grade to the time I graduated high school. We didn’t really have a youth program at my church. Don’t get me wrong, I went to a great church and my grandpa was a phenomenal pastor, but we didn’t really have a youth group. I want to give teenagers the opportunity for something that I never had, and that’s “church” catered to them and relevant to them.
Seeing all of our students in their quiet time right now is such a reassurance from God that I’m doing the right thing with my life. There are times when Scripture will remind us of that (which it did last night), or a worship setting might remind us of that, or some speaker will say something that reminds us of that, but seeing our students is like Jesus pulling up a chair next to me and leaning over and whispering, “Pretty cool isn’t it? Keep doing what you’re doing. I’m proud of you.”
God always gives us different type of affirmation but no matter what, if we’re doing what he wants us to do, he always lets us know it. My question to you would be how has God showed you that you’re doing what he wants you to do lately?
Have you paid attention to it or have you just shrugged it off?
Getting that arm around the shoulder from Jesus is enough to energize you for quite a while.
And I’d say I’m pretty energized right now.