The all girls’ camp started off with a bang…actually, with a high-speed chase through Clarksville. We weren’t actually in the chase but it went by us…four times actually before the truck in pursuit jumped a curb and headed out of sight.
In the midst of the chase, Hannah, one of our staff members caught Cheryl, our bus driver on video. Cheryl was excitedly yelling over and over, as the driver sped past us and past us again, “He’s coming back!!!”
Melissa heard the video being played before she heard the story behind it, and was prompted to remind the girls of a passage from 1 Thessalonians that talks about a much more important return than the one we watched from the bus window:
“But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet. For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:4-11
The Message puts it this way: “But friends, you’re not in the dark, so how could you be taken off guard by any of this? You’re sons of Light, daughters of Day. We live under wide open skies and know where we stand. So let’s not sleepwalk through life like those others. Let’s keep our eyes open and be smart. People sleep at night and get drunk at night. But not us! Since we’re creatures of Day, let’s act like it. Walk out into the daylight sober, dressed up in faith, love, and the hope of salvation. God didn’t set us up for an angry rejection but for salvation by our Master, Jesus Christ. He died for us, a death that triggered life. Whether we’re awake with the living or asleep with the dead, we’re alive with him! So speak encouraging words to one another. Build up hope so you’ll all be together in this, no one left out, no one left behind. I know you’re already doing this; just keep on doing it."
“We live under wide open skies and know where we stand.” Christ is coming back. As Melissa said, we can be confident that he’s coming back to set everything right. But, until then, we often live with a sense of uncertainty. “There is not a girl in this room who doesn’t long for security and safety,” she told us the first night. When that security is built on man—on relationships with people, on how people make us feel, we have a false sense of peace. The deepest parts of us, the parts that crave to trust and feel real security, are parts that only God can touch. And girls often have a particularly hard time trusting trusting.
“How can I trust when _______ has happened to me?”
She said it is often where our deepest hunger and deepest fears connect that we find ourselves unable to trust. And so the verse we talked about this week started with waking up…being alert. And a part of that alertness involves waking up to our fears and struggles to trust.
“You don’t know how I’ve been treated,” one of the girls said.
“I don’t want to wake up. I just want to live my life and do what I want to do.”
“I just need to get this off my chest.”
“I have a right to ________.”
“I deserve that.”
“Everyone else talks like that.”
“I can stop doing this whenever I want to.”
“I’ll change when I get older.”
The girls each shared their own struggles with trust and the ways they choose to numb their longings for security. Melissa’s response was this: “You live in a rough time when there are a lot of voices telling you not to trust. You know about mean girls. You’ve been a mean girl. When you and I get complacent, then deep down inside of us, we have to dull that longing. Instead, he calls us to WAKE UP. Why? He wants you to wake up because who you are is important TODAY."
He’s coming back. But until he does, Paul gives us a roadmap on how he wants us to live—and trust.
1)Wake up. Be smart. Don’t sleepwalk all day. I’m not saying wake up and try hard. But wake up and be who you already are…with all that God has placed inside of you.
2)Get dressed. Put on 3 things: faith, love and hope. Put on faith and love as a breastplate. Faith is believing that you are deeply loved by God. Put on the helmet of hope. Hope protects and sets us free. It gives us security, but we have to make the choice to put it on.
So, what are we going to do today?
3)Encourage one another and build each other up so that you won’t be left out. Until Jesus comes back, you have each other. You are free to trust because your real security is in him. He knows it’s going to be hard, which is why he has given you faith, love and hope as protection. He is coming back. In the meantime, we have each other. And we can know where we stand under the wide, open skies of his love.