As you all are aware, we are in interesting times. As you are also well aware, none of this is catching our Lord by surprise. He is the Victor, the One who has triumphed over death, over sin, over sickness, and over pandemics.
We tried something we have never done before – having a mass online event for our teens across North America (even one tuning in from Munich, Germany). Over 195 teens joined us with YES! Live – Behold to Become!
We will report more on the virtual retreat in upcoming issues. I was able to present a short talk that called all of us to respond to this unique situation. Of course, we recognize that spending one-and-a-half hours together in no way makes up for a weekend retreat. We will continue to work in the weeks ahead to keep up with our youth and be creative in ministry during this interesting time.
My talk was How Do We Respond? One of the issues we had planned to address at the YES! Retreat was the media youth are often “beholding.” Given that, I told them that we were very aware of the irony of doing the retreat via online media!
The first things I addressed were prudence and courage. “Prudence” is not a term we hear much about nowadays; in fact, it often has a negative connotation (e.g. “prude”). However, it means the right time to act, which is a very important Christian virtue.
“Courage” is clearer, but as a Christian virtue, it means more than just being brave. It means we know that the “good” we are trying to achieve is worth it, regardless of our fears.
For an example of these virtues, I used the story of Peter walking on the water in Matthew 14:25-31. As a fisherman on the Sea of Galilee, Peter had seen many storms and likely had been out in his boat through quite a few. We also know Peter was out on a stormy sea in the story of Jesus calming the wind and the waves earlier in Matthew (chapter 8).
In the story in Matthew 14, Peter climbed out of the boat after the Lord commanded it. This was the right response at the right (prudent) time, even if it seems a bit crazy.
In the time we find ourselves today, it is helpful to look at our situation as an adventure, not an inconvenience. We should reject the temptation to “kill time,” and instead embrace this interesting time as an opportunity. Christians are not about “killing” time – but “redeeming” time!
How about the adventure of service? There is time to serve our parents, our siblings, and our friends. There are plenty of ways to serve in our own homes if we have the redeemed eyes to see and the will to do.
Connecting with others is important during this time of isolation. Writing an actual letter to someone could make their day (or their week)! We can use this time to practice intercessory prayer: for our leaders, our medical personnel, those working on a vaccine, those who are sick, or hungry, or afraid.
This is a wonderful opportunity to grow closer to the Lord through reading scripture and trying out different methods of prayer. Let’s not look back at this time and say, “I wish I had finished that project; I wish I had used my time better; I wish I had shown more love for my Lord and for my family.”
Finally, for most of us, this will not be the worst trial in our lives; not even close. Let us use this time as training to become the Christian man or woman God is calling us to be!
Hope you enjoyed this little meditation. We appreciate your ongoing financial support for our ministry to youth. We also greatly appreciate prayer support – that we can be creative in doing what God is asking us to do in reaching young people in this challenging time. God bless you!
Your brother in Christ,