I had a really incredible summer and it is still impacting my life. I had the opportunity to work at the summer day camp at my church as the LIT (Leaders In Training) director. I got to work with a group of Jr. high students who want to be future counsellors and through different ways, we provided them with some training.
A week before camp started a friend, who meant a lot to me, suddenly died. I was going to go visit him the day before but it just didn’t work out. Going into the last week of planning for camp- I was numb; filled with hurt, frustration and regret. I had to plan the Bible studies and I felt like I was the last one who should be doing so. I had missed my opportunity to tell someone I really cared about Jesus so I felt like such a hypocrite. Even though it was a really hard week, God just kept carrying me through, guiding me and bringing everything together. I soon began to see the same way he carried me through that week, was the same way he carried me through the whole summer.
There were many, many times I felt I was in over my head as the LIT director. I felt like I had no idea what I was doing! Still, I loved the LIT’S and my favourite time of the day quickly became our Bible study time. They had so many questions and we had some amazing conversations. That is what really changed things for me!
For the first time in a long time, I couldn’t be lazy spiritually. I was forced into daily Bible reading, prayer and dependence on God. God renewed in my heart a deep desire to know His word so much better and to pursue Him more and more. Through all of this, God also showed me areas of my life and heart I was just glossing over that really needed attention. The closer the light, the more dirt it reveals. All conviction is painful but I realized there’s no way around it if I want a deep relationship with God. Why does God force the issue? Because, sin drains the life out of us (Psalm 32) and there is truly nothing better than having a clean heart before God. Why keep pursuing God in the midst of conviction? Because, the more I understand how sinful my heart is, the more I can understand just how amazing the grace of God really is!
When I deserve condemnation and punishment, I find in Jesus full forgiveness and unending mercy.
When I deserve harshness and God’s anger, I find a gentle and kind saviour who was tempted in every way I am so that He can show me mercy and grace.
When my sin separated me from God, Jesus showed me unconditional and steadfast love through the cross.
When I deserve no good thing, God continues to fill my life with his goodness and so many amazing blessings.
Solomon tells us to remember our Creator when we are young (Ecclesiastes 12) so that we don’t have to go through our whole lives stuck in the same destructive ways and be filled with regret. I know I will always struggle with sin and will continue to fail in many ways, but I would rather let God take my hand and lead me to better things. I want to be free of the sin that entangles me. I want to pursue godliness not so He will love me more, but rather out of deeper desire to experience the beauty of Jesus.
So, this thanksgiving I’m particularly thankful for the grace of God! These lyrics perfectly sum all of this up:
Oh, this grace on which I stand
It will hold me to the end, never failing
Oh, praise the One who rescued me
Jesus, You will ever be my salvation