To every [thing there is] a season,
and a time to every purpose under the heaven.
~ Ecclesiastes 3:1 ~
In the 1980s I worked at the local university with a program designed to keep at-risk students in school and get them into college. One of the major undertakings of this program was to give these students a taste of college life. In addition to visiting local colleges, we took a one-week tour of the northern University of California campuses at Santa Cruz, Davis, and San Francisco.
The most difficult part of preparing for this field trip was getting permission from the parents for their daughters to participate. They knew that we could be trusted because of the relationship we had built with them, but these were their daughters. The decision was difficult for these parents, but because they saw how their children could benefit from such an experience, they let go.
On the day that we left for our field trip, parents were nervous, but I could not understand their apprehension. Thirty-three years later, I finally understand. My daughter left today for her first high school youth group retreat in Big Bear, in a 12-passenger van, being driven by her daddy (who is a part of the youth ministry team), during one of the coldest January’s on record for southern California.
I know, what do I have to fear? God is trustworthy, and He desires us to trust Him rather than let fear conquer us. Noah is with her daddy and our God will help him drive in snow and icy conditions. But thanks be to God who provides for all our needs!
As I write this, the agitation level is going down because I know that our God is with them and will take care of them, even as He is taking care of me right now. He has a way of working with me to calm me down. My first thought as I saw them off, was “Well, now I know how those parents felt,” now it is, “Our God is a great big God! Our God is great big God. . . And He holds us in His hands!” He is so faithful to help us in our time of need; He just used a children’s song to strengthen me and defeat fear!
Dear Father, You are so faithful to meet us where we are! Thank You for knowing what I was going through and helping me to overcome it. Thank You for giving Don and Noah a special time to bond as father and daughter, to have special memories of this time, and most of all, for growing them up together in You. Encourage, strengthen, bind together, and build up everyone who attends. Protect them as they drive up. Help them to stay warm and dry.
May Your presence be known to all and Your Holy Spirit fill and instruct them. Open the eyes of their understanding that they may be enlightened, as Paul prayed, “that [they] may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe,” (Ephesians 2:18-19). Be glorified by them this weekend, Father. Thank You for being our great God, for there is none like You in all of creation; in Jesus’ name be glorified, amen.