This year in New Life senior high youth group, we have been focused on the theme of Living Counter-Culturally. Our lesson on the 2017 Senior High Winter Retreat was based around the idea of the noise we face in our life, and how to live quietly. However, a resort filled with arcades, bowling, and a waterpark didn’t exactly seem like the best setting. But, through lots of fun and fellowship, each student came away with a real idea of how to connect with their Savior.
Following a fun night of bowling and swimming, our first session began with each student writing out their daily schedule. It did not take long before I noticed how overwhelmingly busy we are as a youth group. We then created a list of the activities or devices in our lives that create noise. After making what seemed like a never-ending list, it was very clear why there is a need for silence and prayer with God.
Perhaps the most profound part of the trip though, was when Todd [Hill] made a large, and somewhat uncomfortable request. To convey to us how hard, but necessary, silence with God is, he asked each student to spread out in the resort, with nothing but their Bible, and spend 20 minutes alone with Christ, studying His word and talking to Him. For me personally, it seemed boring. I would much rather do devotions with my friends than sit by myself in silence. But after the time was up, I felt so fulfilled, like I could sit for hours doing just that. I realized how much I could feel God’s presence when I had no phone or people to distract me.
Todd summed up the retreat by turning our eyes to Jesus. We read numerous passages of Scripture where Jesus would leave the crowds to be alone in order speak to His Heavenly Father. Jesus was God, and still did a radical thing to get away and pray in silence. For us, who are not God, our need for quiet reflection is even greater. Jesus made it a point to get away from the noise of the people, and we must purposely do the same. It was encouraging to hear how Jesus, our Savior, can sympathize with us in our weakness. He understands our battles, because He has been to war.
As a senior, the lessons I learned are helpful now, but will continue to serve me well as I move into the noisiness of college in the fall. I’m so thankful for all the fun I had bowling, singing karaoke, eating burgers, and going on waterslides. I’m even more thankful for the eye-opening experiences I shared with some of my best friends during this weekend. New Life Dresher senior high youth group continues to impact my life beyond description.