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“Oh, the unspeakable greatness of that exchange,—the Sinless One is condemned, and he who is guilty goes free; the Blessing bears the curse, and the cursed is brought into blessing; the Life dies, and the dead live; the Glory is whelmed in darkness, and he who knew nothing but confusion of face is clothed with glory.” Trailady

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A person God turned around many times.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

My Story with God, Part Two

That youth group was such an amazing thing. We had someone from another church come to ask us how we got the youth to study the Bible and pray and sing, because they couldn’t manage to get their youth together unless basketball was the main event. All I can say is that the Lord did it. He had prepared me and Richard, the youth leader, and everybody else who became a part of it.

But good things sometimes come to an end. Richard went back to college in Tennessee and left the youth group in my charge. I didn’t have the charisma and relationship with God that he had. I quickly found out that I knew Richard, but I didn’t know God. Now, I understand all this was the Lord’s doing. He had to bring me one step at a time to faith in Him or I would get dizzy and fall completely into atheism with the rest of my brothers and sisters.

Since I didn’t know God, I saw the young people, my only earthly friends, leave the group one at a time. They began saying they had other engagements and couldn’t come to meetings, even Sabbath afternoons. This wrenched my heart, but I couldn’t blame them. I knew I wasn’t nearly as good a leader as Richard had been. Finally, one Sabbath afternoon in an empty church, I went into the church’s storage closet to pour out my broken heart.

I begged God to make me into the right kind of youth leader that would keep His children in the church and joyful in following Him. I prayed until it seemed my dry eyes were going to pop out of my head. But although I locked up the empty church that day just as distressed as ever, God heard my plea.

He didn’t answer me just as I asked Him to. To this day, I have yet to get that leadership style I loved so much in Richard. But not long after praying that prayer, a friend from the youth group told me he was going to the Adventist academy about one hundred miles away and maybe I could go to. I had never thought of it. The church agreed to pay for 1/3, the conference would pay 1/3 and I would work 1/3; and I was on my way to spend my senior year at Shenandoah Valley Academy. This allowed me to escape the eyes of everyone who knew how I had destroyed and dismantled the youth group—not reality, but that is how I perceived it. Getting away to the academy also gave me time alone, especially on Friday nights when I could just read my Bible and let the world around me disappear. This brought such peace to my mind.

At the academy, the classes were good and the students were friendly. But they hadn’t had the same training I had had under Richard. He had taught us the high standard of the Spirit of Prophecy and the Bible. The other students, while they were cleaner than the kids at my public high school, they were pretty worldly by the Bible standard. This was a disappointment, but I found some spiritual kids anyway. Even still, many of the students there thought I was fanatical and kept their distance. The previous year, I had carried my Bible around in my high school and tried to be a witness for Jesus. So being thought of as insane by the academy students wasn’t new and didn’t bother me too much. Beside, how could I be any different after God had put me through what He had?

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