Last night Chandler and I had the opportunity to get a Spirit’s-eye view of what God is doing in the lives of a bunch of college students in upstate New York. We had the rare privilege of being invited in on a student-generated Bible study at Roberts Wesleyan College in Rochester, New York.
These are the best. You are witnessing something that sprang up spontaneously without any adult leadership or prompting. These are just students who wanted to know each other on a deeper level, know God better and worship together. We would never have known this was going on if one of them hadn’t invited Chandler and me to join them. This is where I’m glad Chandler is with me, because I doubt I would have received this invitation were I here alone. (I introduced Chandler in my chapel talk yesterday and told a little of his story.)
For this session they had decided not to have a Bible study but to take the time to hear from whoever wanted to tell their story of how they got to where they are now in their spiritual journey. Oh my … the pain. Almost every time, the deepest pain was the divorce of their parents. One woman shared how she had finally been able to forgive her father and release herself from the bondage to hatred and bitterness she had for him for abandoning them for another woman. But she also has a younger sister who has slipped into anorexia as a way of dealing with her pain, only she and her mother refuse to admit it’s a problem. The sister knows it’s a problem; apparently the doctor said if she loses one more pound, he’s putting her in the hospital. She broke down as she told this story and we all felt her helplessness. Please pray for healing for Jenny and the ability to face the truth about her need of treatment. You can’t get help for a problem you won’t admit, and that applies to all of us.
There were other stories of abandonment, abuse, drugs, and promiscuity. These kids had been through it. I thought back to what I had experienced when I was in college and I didn’t even know half this stuff existed. But every story related how God had been their only source of strength and how His love had gotten them through. As a result, their experiences with God were almost tangible. And they worshiped. My, did they worship! These kids were grateful.
Towards the end of the session, completely unprompted, Chandler chimed in: “Can I talk?” And for the first time, I heard Chandler’s story in his own words — how he had gotten heavily into drugs 24/7 with his friends, how he had drifted away from us, how we had sent him to Wyoming, and how he had not understood that at the time, but he understands it now, and how he has a new plan for his life and how God has given him choices and he is choosing the right things. It’s almost how I would have said it, but coming from him … that meant everything.
In all of these stories, Chandler’s included, it was really the story of God’s love and how He will stop at nothing to get our attention and bring us back to Him.