Camp was different this year. Not bad, not at all, just different. Many of my close youth group friends had graduated last year or were unable to come, so I had a lot more alone time than usual, but the first thing I read in my devotions was, I am with you always, to the end of the age, (Matthew 28:20), so I kept that close all week; He even blessed me with interactions with others, along with a little perspective.
Confession time: I am intensely judgmental. I love people so much and I think the Lord has been awakening compassion in me, but when it comes to people who claim to be Christians yet live their lives contrary to Him, I burn with fury. I care too much about Him to let His name be associated with anything besides LOVE. At camp, there are many truly dedicated followers of Jesus, but there are also many whose relationship with Him consists of going to youth group and… well, that’s pretty much it. I used to look down on them. I used to get so angry and ask Jesus why things had to be this way. But during devotions at camp one day, I found this:
God is mighty, and does not despise any. -Job 36:5
Who am I to look down on or despise anyone? Jesus is the only one who has the right to, but HE DOESN’T. A few verses later, He said, Beware lest wrath entice you into scoffing. (v.18) It’s okay to be angry about hypocrisy (Jesus is!), but the minute I start treating people differently because of it, I’ve lost; the love I want to be inside them is no longer being exercised in me, either. After hearing all this, that night I really felt that I needed to pray over some of the very people I’d been judging, and when I did, the things I prayed for were so unexpected, things I had missed. I still tend toward judgmentality, but I fight it now, because I know it has no substance. He is working on me.
That same night, as everyone was being dismissed from the chapel until night games, I was about to leave until I noticed a small huddle around someone I care about. They were praying for physical healing, and because I have always prayed that for him, I joined in. At first I was just praying from afar, arm outstretched, simply because the group was thick around Him. Yet I felt I needed to touch his heart. I inched in, closer and closer, until I saw an opening and hesitantly placed my hand on his chest. The touch was almost unearthly– his entire body trembling, his heartbeat almost musical. I prayed and prayed, but the bizarre thing is that I never really prayed for physical healing; somehow I knew that the Lord had other plans that day. The things I prayed for, again, I never expected this man to need! But oh, did I pray for them! At one point I felt like I needed to look at his face, so I did: and he was wearing the most relieved expression I have ever seen. He was smiling and nodding slowly, his eyes closed. Soon he began to describe to us what had been happening inside him– and he described all that I had prayed for. I didn’t know ANY of those things, it was all Jesus and His heart for him! He then told us that we could stop, that what he received was more important to him than physical healing. I couldn’t shake the gratitude I felt for days afterwards.
I had been singing everything I prayed. I’m not sure if it was a conscious choice or not, maybe both, but I felt the power in it. A few minutes later it hit me: music is my prayer language, one of my spiritual gifts! I cannot tell you how long I have waited to know, and how pleased I am with this answer. If you desire to know what your spiritual gift is, just be patient and open; He will show you when it’s time! If you’ve asked, He’s given it to you.
This story is a little messy and haphazard, but that’s what camp felt like. I am so grateful that I went, and for what He worked in me and my brothers and sisters. Take us deeper, Lord, deeper than our feet could ever wander!