by Cat Myers, JV Club
“How can God by so merciful and forgiving?”
I was taken aback by “Cassie’s” question. It came during our small group after a full day of JV Camp. The teachers spoke about the “not-so-great” prophet Jonah, and challenged students to consider their own decisions and how they often need God’s redirection in their lives. She’d heard all about Jonah’s disobedience to God’s call, the terrible state of the Ninevah people, and God’s deliverance and patience with Jonah and the Ninevites. And yet He can still forgive?
The teaching became real to Cassie when she realized she needed to forgive someone in her life…a relative who is dangerous and has even hurt family members on several occasions.
Cassie’s willingness to be honest encouraged the entire small group to open up about their own experiences with rejection, abandonment and injustice. The girls also shared about their choices to cope and take revenge by lying, stealing and seeking attention in destructive ways.
When the girls finished sharing we had a time of prayer. Cassie was the first one to pray for her relative. She thanked God for His mercy and forgiveness and prayed that her relative would come to know God. She prayed that, in time, she would be able to forgive him, too. Not every question was answered and their concerns were not immediately relieved, but each girl prayed for someone in their life whom they considered an enemy and asked for God’s help.
This is why we love taking our students to away for camps and retreats. The time away always encourages deep and impactful sharing and conversations. We see God work in such wonderful ways, and students’ lives are often forever changed.