Ever since my transition to college from home, I’ve felt that I have grown in so many ways due to the new college environment and being able to spend time fellowshipping with and learning from those at Grace Community Church and Grace On Campus. But upon coming back to CYIA, I realized that I’ve really been in a sheltered environment of security and safety where I can cultivate my walk with God. Chasing after God isn’t all butterflies and dandelions, like it is for me at UCLA. Relatively.
A weeklong retreat-style conference which trains young adults in evangelizing children, Christian Youth In Action is a highlight for my summers. Being able to gather and fellowship with friends that I only see once a year is a blessing in itself. Seeing them faithfully proclaim God’s work in their own lives is a huge encouragement to me as well. But unlike me, where I can grow in my faith in a safe and enjoyable college environment, others that attend camp are not as blessed.
One of my cabin mates fights daily with respecting his father, a pragmatic Christian who “is a Christian when it’s convenient”, as a friend puts it. Not that he doesn’t want to honor him. But when his father buys into some of the lies and deceit that Satan pours into his heart and beliefs, it’s difficult for my cabin mate to show his respect for his father while still pointing him in the way of Truth. His struggles in living out his beliefs at home overflow to requests for prayer while he was in our cabin. One such plea to our God is his ability to be baptized, which he “wants to obey and follow so bad, if it weren’t for his father’s restrictions. Most people take it for granted that they have parents that allow them to be baptized!” he shared with us in tears.
Still others have even rougher home conditions. A fellow camper shared his story about the night when his younger brother pulled out a large meat-cutting knife on his mother and father. Still others relate stories of molest, abandonment, drug addictions, and depression. The list is endless.
But the most amazing thing is to see how God constantly draws them back to Himself. In the midst of their sin and their struggles, our gracious Lord and Savior brings them even closer to Him, as their Guard and Protector. He has become the solid Rock that they stand upon, and their dependency on Him and the sufficiency they find in following Him encourages me in my walk, as well as increases my view of the One who gives grace so freely.
It is impossible to hear their testimonies and their stories without praising our Father who is so faithful and mighty to save those who are so willing to give up everything for Him. This week has truly given me a reminder of those who suffer in taking their cross daily to follow Him, and the rewards of their doing so.
My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness
I dare not trust the sweetest frame
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name
On Christ the solid Rock I stand
All other ground is sinking sand, all other ground is sinking sand!
–The Solid Rock, Hymn