This week I had the privilege of leading a group of High School boys through some meaningful conversations about God as our father for Revolution Church’s Student Ministry Camp. This topic brought about a lot of commentary surrounding earthly fathers and the way they have let us down and how their doing so has skewed our view of God. Honestly, it was a sweet spot for me. This topic is what I have spent a lot of time dealing with personally and in the lives of others.
It’s really easy to get students talking about how their fathers have failed. Super cool mocho feelingless guys get real chatty when given the floor to bash dad. But as the evening went on I noticed a shift. It went from, “My dad is too strict. He never lets me do anything” to “My dad didn’t have a dad.” These young men were broken but extremely aware of the fact that sin begets sin even if they didn’t state it that way.
One young man shared about his biological father abandoning him and the hurt that it had caused. He said it was really hard to trust authority because he was always afraid they would leave. He said that He struggled to understand God because he was afraid that God would eventually grow tired of giving him grace so he thought it better to just stay away altogether.
We spent a lot of time unpacking God’s love for us as his children and what it means to be a perfect father. We shared honestly about our father’s and the fact that we know that they were just doing the best they could with the limited information known to them and the poor examples that had as kids themselves. Each meeting began with towel whippings and ended with someone smelling a fart and trying to find the culprit, but in between there were these incredible moments of sincerity that I pray led to lasting change.
Three of those young men were among the 108 baptised at Revolution today. Two of them began relating to God as father for the first time and one was a self professed prodigal who was coming home. It was an honor to be a small part of each of their coming to Christ and rekindled something in me that I honestly thought was dead. The reason I chose to share this with you all today is because of what it rekindled. I had lost my sense of belonging with God and seeing these three men experience it for the first time showed me the way back to it.
Belonging. What does it mean to belong? To be a member or a part. You see, it’s like I told you before, I find my way onto islands pretty quickly. Sure I’m in a small group, I go to church, I work at a christian organization, but even still I look up from all of my business and find myself alone. I don’t know that I choose it, it just seems like a drifting, like when you go play in the ocean only to look up and see you’ve drifted hundreds of feet down shore. I am a drifter.
I partnered with some awesome people this week that anchored me. We were in battle against a real enemy for the sake of the students who were there with us. Success required unity, communication, energy, and devotion and at many moments each of us lost our bearings. One would get consumed by the job loss they’d just found out about from home, the other the lost relationship that had recently happen, another with the game that didn’t go correctly, another with the lack of communication and me on the phone off and on dealing with me car that was in the shop and the fear of being able to pay for it. But then, as we each drifted, one who was stable would draw us back in and help us get on task. it was amazing. Poetic at times. The way the enemy attacked from every angle and the way God sovereignly allowed us to be strong for one another when we needed it. We each belonged. We each were working toward a common goal. We each needed one another to stand a chance. And so we held onto one another tightly and awaited the storms passing.
That is what these young men gained this week. A life of belonging. A sense of purpose. A family to traverse the stormy waters of life with. A good good father and a pretty awesome family to boot. I am so grateful that camp isn’t just for students. To be grounded again in my family is an incredible blessing. Even though I am a drifter, they keep me from going too far.