Beyond Summer Camps – Third Place (tie)

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Since I’ve been a teenager growing up in the Church, summer youth camps have always been the “spiritual high” in my Christian walk. I always looked forward to them and couldn’t wait for next year.

When I left camp, I felt a void in my heart. There was a weird feeling when I left my spiritual friends, the constant worship, and the amazing, love-filled atmosphere. I felt empty when I returned home and my busy life returned to me. I felt the pressure once again in my school, extracurricular activities, and family life. All I could think was God’s presence has left me. Or had it?

Youth camps are always filled with scheduled time to be with God, which was hard to do at home. We had worship service every night that included a great sermon and powerful worship singing. We had times to learn more about others and make new friendships, as well as strengthen our older friendships. It was the one week during the year that you felt close to God, and you could hear and feel His presence nonstop.

Commitments were often made, declaring to God that you will always love Him and serve Him. We believed it for that week and maybe a week or two after the camp was over. We believed . . . until Satan threw lies and hardships in our lives after youth camp was over. What were we supposed to do now?

Romans 8:38, 39 has great value declaring that nothing can separate us from the love of God. No troubles, trials, or person has the power to separate God from His children! So if this means He is always with us, then why do we suddenly not feel Him working in our lives anymore? John 5:17 says that God is always at work. We may not feel Him, but He promises us He’s working.

However, the relationship we have with God has to be a two-way street. Like any good relationship, both parties have to put in effort to communicate with one another. Daily set aside a time to talk with God, because God is trying to talk to you, so listen and obey what He is telling you to do.

Now that you’ve been with God, take Him with you and be Christlike. The Bible tells us in many accounts that God never leaves us nor forsakes us (Joshua 1:9; Deuteronomy 31:6; Hebrews 13:5). At times, we may not feel Him, but please do not be discouraged or lose faith in God. He is always with you, my dear friend!

Is it true that we go through seasons in our lives that make us feel distant from God? I’m sure you already know the answer is yes. The truth is that God never leaves us. Nothing can separate us from His love. We have to pursue a relationship with Him as He does with us, and He will be more evident in our lives.

I am not trying to bash on summer youth camps. Those times spent worshipping God with fellow believers can be such an amazing experience! However, I hope it doesn’t stop there. Don’t forget to take God with you. He is there; you just have to recognize His presence and act on it. When you feel the most distant from God, call out to Him, and He will answer you.

Now your whole life can be a “spiritual high!”

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Kassidy Hinds, daughter of Tim and Lisa Hinds, lives in Oregon and attends the Marion Church of God (Seventh Day), where her dad serves as youth pastor and co-pastor. Her interests include hikes, coast trips, writing essays, and singing. Kassidy is currently attending Spring Vale Christian School and is a worship team leader there. Singing and writing are two of her greatest passions when it comes to serving Christ.