Youth Workers are always on the go.  We know in our brains that the busier things get the more we need some time alone with God.  Yet, we also know that the busier things get the easier it is to let that time slowly slip away.  Whether it’s a summer mission trip back to back with VBS or when Confirmation, Easter and the end of the school year celebrations all land within three weeks of each other, we’ve all experienced the “busy” seasons… the times when we’re not even sure we have time to breathe and use the restroom, let alone stop and spend time with Jesus.

This series of devotions is designed to help us pause in those busy times, even for just a moment, and connect with our Savior. Pull one out at the rest stop on the way to the mission trip or in your office after lunch in the middle of VBS week.  Press pause for a few short moments, turn your attention to God and let him fill you up again so you can get back out there and do all the awesome things He has planned for you!

They are each centered on a name for God and include a Scripture reference, a devotional story/thought and some questions to ponder as you press “play” again. 

Dehydration, Snake Bites and Tornado Warnings, Oh My!

At barely age 21 I found myself in a position of basically running an entire summer camp for eight weeks.  While I technically had supervisors over me, they lived four hours away at a different camp.  To keep this short, here’s a small sampling of things I experienced that summer:

  • Comforting third graders who witnessed someone get killed in their own church earlier that morning before coming to camp
  • Working with a counselor and a mom to help her child with an extreme anxiety disorder experience a week at camp
  • Consistently being understaffed
  • Calling the parents of a teenager to let them know their child was in an ambulance on the way to the ER after having been bit by a copperhead snake
  • Accusations from parents of child abuse by one of the counselors
  • Averaging about three to four hours of sleep a night, hours that were often interrupted with the weather radio alerting me of potential tornadoes in the area

To say I was overwhelmed would be quite the understatement.  Only second to my prayers for wisdom were prayers for strength to get through whatever the day would hold.  But, then, a few weeks in I came across some of these passages and realized God didn’t just want to give me strength, he wanted to BE my strength.

O LORD, be gracious to us; we long for you.
Be our strength every morning, our salvation in time of distress. (Isaiah 33:2)

The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song. (Psalm 28:7)

My Savior wasn’t just promising to give what I needed, but to BE what I needed.  So by that grace, I was able to get out of bed each morning. And for that I’m thankful, because otherwise I would have missed witnessing campers understand Jesus’ love for them for the first time.  Without His strength to give even more of myself on the weekends when I longed for rest, I wouldn’t have had the honor of being with a counselor as she let Jesus be the strength she needed to lay burdens of self-injury and family struggles down at the cross and walk away free.  I wouldn’t have been out at the high ropes course to see campers overcome fears as they did things they never thought they could do.  I wouldn’t have had to joy of walking around camp seeing kids and youth of all ages exciting to be reading God’s Word and worshiping Him every day.

Whatever challenges you may be facing right now in ministry, remember that God meets our needs by actually BEING the answer.  Ask Him. He will show up and when He does, lives are changed for eternity!

Where have you seen God as Your Strength in the past?   What’s going on right now where you need him to show up with supernatural strength? 

Oh God, My Strength, show up today in ways I can’t even imagine.  In the midst of exhaustion, confusion, fear, or pain, open my eyes to see that you are present and grant me faith to trust You where my eyes cannot see.  Be gracious to me as I long for you.  Help my heart trust you, leap for joy, and give thanks no matter what else may be going on.  Be my strength today.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.