Hopetown Highlights #5: 5th-6th Graders - Superheroes, Super-Conquerors, and Armor-Bearers

What helps you believe you’re incredible?

“Someone listening to me.”

“Someone letting me know how I’m different and special.”

“That God made us just how he wants us.”

“Getting a hug.”

“Praying.”

“Someone smiling at me.”

“Forgiveness.”

“Being thankful.”

“When someone says, ‘I love what you’ve done so far.’”

“When someone knows I’m trying as hard as I can.”

These are the answers the 5-6 graders gave to this question last week at camp.  And, let us say at the outset…these were some pretty incredible kids.

We had just seen the movie, The Incredibles, on the back of a barn, as is our 1st night of camp tradition.  And that movie led us in to a week full of conquering superheroes and armor bearers…the likes of which we’ve never seen before.

Melissa taught on Romans 8:

“No, in all these things, we are MORE THAN CONQUERORS through Him who loved us…I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and Christ’s love for us because of the way that Jesus our master has embraced us.”

-Romans 8:37-39

“I love to read the end of a book first,” Melissa told the kids.  “It helps me know the end of the story.  And we know the end of this story.  We already have it in the book of Revelation.  In this life, things happen that are hard.  But, no matter what has gone on in your life, you can still have hope and joy.  You are more than a conqueror…which means, literally, you can overcome.  Not just a conqueror…you are MORE than a conqueror.”

Over the course of the week, the kids shared their stories.  We had three kids who had battled cancer.  We had three children who had lost at least one parent.  Another had lost a sibling.  Another had a parent in prison.  Many others had been through loss of one kind or another…in their families or in their friendships.  Their stories…and their bravery sharing them was truly astounding.

Melissa went on to say, in the midst of the sorrow, “Satan wants you to be discouraged and down.  God wants you to believe that you’re loved.  The verse goes on to say we are MORE than conquerors through him who loved us.  That’s Jesus.  His love gives us hope.  His love gives us the strength to get through any of these hard things.  

Romans 8:28 says ‘And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.’  All things work together for good.  The Bible doesn’t say all things are good.  It’s that they work together for good.  He works them together for good…even the things that feel bad right now.  

Let me tell you that we’re talking about things that most 5-6 graders wouldn’t be talking about.  But we’re talking about them, because many of you are in the middle of things that do feel bad and hard…and it’s difficult to feel like a conqueror.  You’re a lot like Jonathan, who was heading to battle in 1 Samuel 14:6-7

He turned to his armor-bearer and said, “Let’s go…Perhaps the Lord will act in our behalf.”

You are going into battle, or are already in the midst of one. And, when I first read that verse, I wanted to scratch out the word ‘perhaps’.  We’re living in the midst of those perhaps-es.  Things are hard.  There are battles.  But Jonathan still believed he was more than a conqueror.  He still said, ‘Let’s go,’ to his armor bearer.

And some of you are very much like that armor bearer.  Do you know what his response was?  He turned to Jonathan and said, ‘Go ahead; I am with you heart and soul.’” 

After reading through the verse, and after hearing some of the battles the other campers were in, the entire camp stepped in to being armor bearers.  They would call out the name of another. “I’m with you, Jack,” they’d say.  Many were sitting next to a friend, and put their hand on their shoulder.  Many would stand up and speak these words across the room…looking a friend in the eyes…sharing not only truth, but also that friend’s burden.

So many of these 5-6 graders experienced real empathy for the first time.  It was an experience many adults never get to have.  These kids were truly with each other heart and soul.  

We’d love for you to share these same truths with your child, no matter their age.  What makes them feel incredible?  What battles are they facing?  Who can they be an armor bearer for in their lives?

We all live in both places.  In the midst of the perhaps-es in our lives, we do know the end of the story.  We can bear each other’s armor…and we can fight.  We can fight because we know that we are MORE than conquerors through Him who loved us…and loves us still.