By Todd Hill
“Great faith is the product of great fights. Great testimonies are the outcome of great tests. Great triumphs can only come out of great trials.” -Smith Wigglesworth
On January 30th, thirteen of my Sr. High student leaders showed up to NLD for a full-day retreat from 9 am to 5:30 pm. As you might guess, the retreat included lots of good food and some high-intensity blow dart competitions! However, a majority of our day was spent considering how they might be called as teenagers to Do Hard Things. This topic came out of a book entitled Do Hard Things by Alex and Brett Harris. The premise of the book is that our culture today has sold teenagers short by expecting very little from them. It noted that a century ago, the category of teenager really didn’t even exist, and gave a number of examples of 12-, 13- and 14-year-olds accomplishing great feats that today most would consider only possible by mature, grown adults. We then talked about how God gave Abraham, Moses, and the disciples tasks that were much too big for them to accomplish on their own, and as each of these men stepped out in obedience, God showed up.
I wonder, however, if this is a message only for our teenagers today? It is pretty easy for me to challenge our youth to step out and do hard things so that they don’t someday end up living in their parents’ basement playing video games all day long. However, when was the last time I assessed my own heart? Have I so embraced the idol of comfort in my own life that I am unwilling to do hard things of my own? Doesn’t the upside-down Gospel that we embrace tell us that it is only when we step out and do hard things that we are able to be faced with our utter weakness and inability to accomplish meaningful things on our own? And then doesn’t it tell us that it is only when we experience our weakness first-hand that we are able to experience the strength of Christ (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)?
Our students are already stepping out and doing hard things. Four of our students have already volunteered to plan and organize this summer’s mission’s trip to London – from planning and running our team trainings to booking flights and purchasing insurance for the trip. These four are convinced that Jesus has already done the hardest thing for them, and their response to His death and resurrection is to cheerfully do hard things. As we dwell on Jesus’ obedience in our place, I wonder how we might respond?