So much for Lydia

Last night, high school youth group went so well that I just had to share. We got off to a bit of a late start due to Middle School going long and also because we were chatty. I started off frazzled because technology once again failed me in my hour of need, but instead of trying to fix it, I decided to simply talk through the lesson and hope for the best. I told my interpretation of Acts 16:6-40 and lost them and then found them and probably lost them again. I got stopped by my excitement in the way Paul lived out his faith. He literally prayed earthquakes! And that broke my heart because we have been so caught up in other things we haven't even been praying at the beginning of youth group. That's not the way things are supposed to be.

So I asked the kids to talk with the people around them to come up with ways we can both strengthen our faith and live it out in a more bold way. In other words: How can we pray our own earthquakes?
I was so impressed with the conversations I heard! They were really thinking about it and working through what that meant for them individually. They came up with countless things that we can be doing to further our faith in God! Everything from "speaking more boldly with our friends and classmates about our faith." to "living out our faith by walking the way Christ would." These are truly amazing things to hear from youth in a culture that is so hard on Christianity.

After a good conversation in smaller groups, I opened it up to the whole room to share what the groups had come up with. Then things got real. Deep and real and raw.

What started off as a sweet and simple conversation about taking our faith to the next level oped the flood gates to a whole myriad of hurt feelings, frustrations, and confusions about our Lord and Savior. The next thing I knew, I was being hit by questions that I hadn't expected to be asked that night. Things like:

"Should we pray if we have our doubts about God hearing and responding to us?"
"Why bother praying for something if God is going to say no anyway?" 
"If God gave us freewill, why does he get mad at us when we make the wrong choice?"

and of course...the big one: "Why does God let bad things happen to good people?"

This tough one was followed by many others like:

"Is God choosing for little kids to die of cancer? Or did they choose wrong and now they are being punished?" 
"Why do people always give God credit for the good things, but not for the bad things?"

I was so proud of the courage these kids showed last night in asking these though questions, questions that often can't be answered. And let me tell you, if you think these questions are impressive, the responses to the questions by their peers were all the more exciting, powerful, and impressive! 

I saw kids who never talk on Wednesday nights respond, quoting scriptures and sharing stories, giving examples, and creating metaphors to break things down. It was such an amazing night that we all got to struggle through together.

My lesson didn't go even closed to as planned, but I believe it went exactly as it was supposed to. An hour and a half later I suggested that we call it a night, I will search for some answers to their unanswerable questions and we would do another night on it. This statement brought on the best part of the night: A students stopped me mid-sentence and said this:

"Don't just hang on to your questions or push them to the side until Jada makes another lesson about it. Go home and pray about it! Ask God your questions and let him answer you. Talk to you parents and your friends, talk to you someone else about it. Don't just let them go, do something about them."

This got a loud round of applause and I was so unbelievably proud that I went home and told everyone I could about it. And now I'm telling you. 

These questions are on most hearts most of the time. They are frustrating and infuriating and should be talked about. So let's talk about them. Let's pray about them. Let's pray earthquakes.

Jada

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