I was 16 year old church kid trying to be a counselor-in-training at a church camp – an all-boys church camp! I couldn’t have been safer. We weren’t even allowed to talk to the girls who worked in the kitchen (yes, stereotyped roles as well). Everything was safe from any danger… except that we continually asked God to work.
The most dangerous thing happened – He listened and acted!
It started with a young kid named Jimmy – a foul-mouthed, rebellious spawn who would run away from us, sometimes squirming out of clothes to run in full-naked joy. Halfway through the week, the leaders called a special meeting of all the counselors. It was about Jimmy. Were we going to play a prank on him? Send him home? No! We stayed up until the wee hours of the morning and prayed for him, begging God to come down and change the boy. I don’t think I had ever heard that much prayer go up for one person at one time. The day the campers left, Jimmy hopped on the bus, from all appearances unchanged . Suddenly, he ran down the bus aisle, out the door and fell at the feet of his counselor crying, “I need Jesus.”
That event really shook up this 16 year-old church kid. God had somehow moved from behind the silent curtain and became alive – my own personal resurrection of God! I have never recovered.
Later that week I prayed for my own miracle of service. “Could I stay in a God-environment for longer than July?” Miraculously three days later a friend of mine sent me a letter asking me to come and counsel at a Salvation Army camp for the month of August. God even listened to and answered the prayers of a 16 year old, novice prayer. What a ride!
Experiencing God has always been a border-crossing event. In my generation, people continued to attend church whether they had experienced God or not, out of duty or cultural norms. This is no longer the case; this generation is leaving church and their faith like lemmings to the sea (Anywhere from 33% to 80% are leaving church by the age of 30 years old, depending on the denomination).
If ever there was a time when we needed to call on the name of the LIVING God, it is now! I know experiences come and go, and I base my relationship with God on His unchanging character as revealed in the Bible. In order to learn to TRUST God’s Word, however, we need to experience it as real, active and life changing!
Father, remind me today to be dangerous by inviting You into my foggy situations and expecting to see your best – the impossible.