Not the way it was supposed to go…
Working around camp often brings up memories of past summers, projects and staff members. One staff member in particular came to mind the other day. He was a young man with a great work ethic who was starting to socially break out of his shell. I smiled as I remember the good times spent together and sighed as I remembered some really difficult times.
Unfortunately, the relationship between this staff member, the ministry and myself, ended with one of those bad times. Sin was left unrepented, restoration never happened, and no sense of healthy closure ever came. Despite moments of grace and confrontation, long conversations and the call to repentance, he chose to build a wall that continues to separate the two of us.
I tried hard to show love, extend grace, speak truth, and help him grow. I was thrilled to have the support and involvement of this young man’s parents in the process. However, I was disappointed when it became clear that things weren’t going to resolve, and in some ways I felt that I had failed him. Maybe we could have had a stronger discipleship relationship. Maybe there was something I could have said to better express my heart and desire for him to seek God through this unpleasant experience. It was one of those times in ministry where I wish I could know for sure that things would work out for his good and God’s glory.
I am sure you’ve had a similar heartbreaking experience with a leader, student or parent. Calling someone to repentance is often times difficult, and our own actions and reactions can make things even more complex. Caring for the souls of your people is never easy and restoration is not always the end result as we experience the conflict.
Restored Hope. Restored Life.
As spring begins to bud around camp, I’m also reminded of the backdrop of Easter. It comes to the forefront of my mind as we prepare to celebrate Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection. What happened there is the ultimate display of restoration.
Our hope lies in the restoring forgiveness of our Savior. Everything lies in that hope. He tears down the wall of sin that separates us from God and each other. He brings our relationship with God back to its fullness, and He can do the same for our relationships with those around us.
As we remember Jesus’ sacrifice, let me encourage you to remember those you have called to repentance, those you long to restore. Now is the time to pray for them and maybe even reach out to them again.
Let me invite you to do the following:
- Pray for those individuals – intentionally, specifically, regularly
- Ask God to bring restoration.
- Consider approaching them again.
- Examine your own actions and reactions. Pay attention to your emotions and assumptions, because God may be calling you to repent too.
- As you sit with the unresolved tension, rest in the hope of Jesus’ victor over Satan, sin and death.
I plan to contact this staff member to express my love and concern for him. I hope and pray that God will turn his heart to desire restoration. I pray God uses you in mighty ways to bring about restoration this Easter season.
“Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!” Psalm 139:23-24
“Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.” 2 Corinthians 13:11
About the writer: Ben Myers
Ben Myers is the Camp Manager at Arrowhead Bible Camp in Brackney, PA. He’s served in the position for over 10 years running programs for developmentally disabled adults, partnering with local Student Ministries, and discipling High School and College students at the camp.