Here's a glimpse into the youth ministry I work with called Matchbox Ministries. A photographer, Thom, takes dozens of photos every week and has put together a montage - which can be found if you click here.
Now you can see what a cool thing Matchbox is and all the kids who attend. Some of my girls are in there...as their photos fly by.
Last night was youth group, and the girls and I met...the topic was pain. On Sunday, Bryan talked about how pain can be God's megaphone to get our attention. We talked about what we would do differently in life if we could feel no physical pain... we considered a lot of things, then one girl, H. said that pain is a good thing - that feeling a little bit of pain like when we touch a hot stove - helps us remove our hand from the heat..and prevent further damage to our hands. If we felt no pain, we'd leave our hands there and do so much more damage which would take a lot more time and resources to heal.
We also talked about pain (emotional and physical) and how sometimes you can pray and pray and God doesn't heal what you ask him too. H. brought up the fact that our lives impact others and sometimes not getting what we pray for happens because there's a bigger picture... our lives affect each other and God has a bigger plan than just our wants and needs. H. (she was on a roll!) also reminded us that if God does not heal us and we do die, it's not bad if you know that you'll be in heaven after you die.
I agree with the "bigger plan than me" idea. A friend of the family was killed 12 years ago when she was 18 and driving to school for the first time. At her funeral, hundreds of her fellow students and her family members heard how death is not the end if you know Jesus personally, and her grandparents (among others) found eternal life in Jesus and now they are not afraid of death.
Once again these girls amazed me...by opening up about themselves and also in discussing deeper issues that had me thinking long after I left the chapel we met in.
It was a good night.