One of the joys in my week is leading a bunch of 6th and 7th graders through Confirmation. Confirmation is a class centered on learning what it means to be a follower of God as revealed and shown to us through Christ and His Word found in the Bible. These classes are raw at times, refreshingly honest, filled with students not afraid to speak the inner thoughts of their heart, ones we as adults repress or hold back for fear of looking dumb. A word to describe our time together … unfiltered.
As one teaching a group such as this it certainly keeps you on your toes in more ways than one. But I wouldn’t change anything about it! In a recent unit in which we looked at God and how we relate to Him, we delved into how one can know God and some the questions people have in relation to Him. During our time, I had the youth write down on note cards some of the questions they struggled with in their faith. Check out some of the questions our own youth asked of God:
How do you watch over everybody at once?
Why did you write the Bible?
Why doesn’t the Bible state anything about the dinosaurs?
What is the meaning of life?
Why did you make humanity?
I’d ask Him about how He knows what you’re going to say or do before you do it?
Why do people make bad choices?
I don’t know about you, but when I heard these young people share these questions during our lesson I was blown away at their depth and maturity. This was a God-appointed moment for me, because it got me thinking about things: Where has our curiosity gone? Why are we so afraid to ask deeper, probing questions that take us to the heart of God? Are we afraid that somehow we’ll lose face among our peers? Remember, the Spirit is in constant actively all around us to encourage us, stretch us, grow us, and lead us to a sure ground through the Bible, God’s very Words given to us in order to grow a relationship between us and the Lord. Faith begins and ends in God. Jesus, after all, is Truth in the flesh, who has come to set us free (John 14:6) from the shackles of the broken world in which we live.
Being in places of wonder can lead us to a posture of submission, because it is impossible for us to know everything, right? We are encouraged by Solomon, one of the wisest men ever to have lived, to trust in the Lord with our whole heart and lean not on our own understanding (Proverbs 3:5). Instead of leaning on our own pursuit of God it is crucial to let go of the reigns and let God be God. There is nothing we can do by our own power to grow our faith stronger or get us one step closer to the Lord Himself. God is the one who takes the initiative, the author and perfector of all things. Personally, it blows my mind to think that the God of the universe, the creator of all things, is in pursuit of an intimate relationship with me, Nathan. He sought me out from the beginning of time to be one of His dearly loved children! Wow! He desires the same with you, too!
Life is messy. In fact, I think it is actually a good thing that life has its mess because these are the moments that lead us to a place of leaning on God, growing a trust of Him through the unknowable things that fill our life. There have been many times, in the face of a difficult decision, I wish I could have known what to do next, but this often isn’t how God operates. We are left “in the middle” because it is in this place where trust and faith are most clearly developed and nurtured.
I love school; particularly the challenge that stands before me in the learning process. The truth is, once we stop putting ourselves in a place of learning we stop growing as followers. The question is: Where are you growing in your journey of faith in God? After all, last time I checked, God desires followers, not perfect people, but those who are vulnerable and teachable in spirit. This is the heart of a disciple … always a student with the Lord Jesus Himself as the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
Always a student,