I have been doing a lot of thinking lately, mainly about my future (the very near future…where I find out if I am staying in New York or not being able to afford the cost of living here and having to move back to Pennsylvania). I would be lying if I said that I do not worry about it anymore and I have left it in God’s hands. I tried to do that, but it is hard for me to just sit back and not be in control. I think that is what God is teaching me though: Patience. I am a very impatient individual. When I want something, I work hard at it and get it. I have become content with doing things on my own. That is why it is hard for me to trust God in this situation. I struggle with just sitting there, doing nothing, and waiting on something. I feel that I need to work at it or it will not happen. However, this is not what this entry is about. This was just my attempt at venting and thinking aloud.
I do, however, want to talk about patience (just not as it applies to the above-mentioned situation). I have heard it said many times that youth workers will not see the fruits of their labor until many years down the road. You may teach, hang out with, counsel, and pray for each kid in your youth group week in and week out, but rarely do you see the impact you have on a kids life until he or she matures and grows into the man or woman of God that He intended them to be. This has been something that has been taught to me by my professors from the early stages of my “Intro to Youth Ministry” class all the way through my three years at Nyack to my “Advanced Youth Ministry” class. I was made aware of it and was ready to not get discouraged when I did not see results in the kids I work with. I think God had something else in mind though…
This past March, I and some of my leaders, took our middle school youth group to a middle school retreat. Makes sense…right? The weekend was a huge success (with the exception of our van breaking down, forcing us to hang out on the side of a five-lane highway for three hours). The best thing about the weekend though, came on the last day. The speaker asked all of the youth leaders to stand up, stretch out their arms, and pray for their students. After that, the speaker asked the students to do the same thing for their leaders. There were over a thousand students from the north east there. All of the students turned around, stretched out their arms to their leaders, and prayed for them. What made this experience special to me was that three of the kids from my youth group ran from the front of the conference hall back to me and surrounded me to pray for me. Two of them were kids I have been working with for three years. One of them was in his first year in the middle school youth group. My professors said that I would not see results that I am getting through to these kids and making a difference in their lives until later on down the road…boy were they wrong! I have some great students in my group and I thank God for them everyday.
I do not know why I felt compelled to write about this story, but I am glad that I did. It reminded me to never lose hope and to have patience. Though we may not get what we want, or see results (this applies to anything in life…not just youth ministry), God is still in control, and He knows what He is doing!