Out of Control – Day 34

God is in the midst of it all! You may know the Bible verse that comes from Hebrews 13:5, “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” This is just one of the many verses that use this comforting message. There are upwards of twenty-five other verses that also remind of the fact that God is always with us. Another verse that some have dubbed their life verse is Joshua 1:9, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”  

Just this past weekend, I had the extreme privilege to get away with our middle school youth — my oldest daughter Faith is one of them — on the winter retreat. This was my second time going and I truly was trusting God to be with my wife and my other two kids. The theme for this year’s Winter Meltdown was “Out of Control”. WOW! That sounds like this was going to be a crazy and wild weekend for sure, right? Well, knowing that this retreat would be filled with opportunities to experience God’s love and get closer to Him, I wasn’t thinking that at all. However, I was certainly curious to find out where the River Valley Ranch team would be going with this.

The weekend began on Friday night with some time of worshipping and general crazy fun. . .fun that IS RVR! They are very gifted in making the whole experience fun for the students and us leaders, too. In addition to the great time of singing worship songs along with the guest band, Pastor George Hopkins, who shepherds a church in center city Baltimore, spoke to everyone about God being with us even in the chaos. Aha! So, THAT’S the idea behind the title for the theme. When things may seem out of our control, we can rest assured that God is still with us. When everything has us swirling around and feeling overwhelmed, God is with us. He may reveal Himself in unexpected ways while we are facing one of the difficult situations in life that have us feeling out of control. He may reveal Himself in just a whisper. Have you ever heard from God in a whisper? Pastor George challenged us to be quiet with him for just thirty seconds. The students could not just sit for thirty seconds and not make a noise or talk back to him, as he stood in front not moving around or saying a word. He then made the point that God may be trying to talk to you and trying to get our attention in a whisper. If we don’t slow down and take time to listen for Him, we may miss hearing from Him. Therefore, we may feel that God has abandoned us in times of chaos, because we don’t allow ourselves to let Him speak.

Have you ever felt that God had abandoned you? His Word tells us that we can take comfort in knowing, over and over again, that He reminds us of His truth. The truth that when we trust in Him, we will know that we can always turn to Him and let Him speak to us and guide us. His Word is truth. His Word is unchanging. He never leaves us or forsakes us, so we are never abandoned.

Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, I pray for each person who reads this. I pray that they see that I simply felt led to share a little bit of how amazing You are—that You are indeed The Comforter and ever-present help because You are always there beside us. In the midst of our chaos, whether it’s just everyday life stuff or a specific trial that makes us feel overwhelmed, You are always there wanting us to give all the control to You. Thank You, Daddy God! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
– Rick Barnes