This weekend, for the first time ever in my life, I got to spend some time at a Young Life camp.
Saturday night, in the midst of the club talk, all the students and leaders were invited, for 20 minutes, to go outside somewhere without our friends and technology and spend 20 minutes just with God. So we all stood and left and I walked outside, not having any destination in my mind.
Where I ended up was on my back on the sandy lake side, looking up at the starry sky. Now the first thing that needs to be noted here is that I hate sand with a burning passion, but for some reason, I ended up in that spot, lying in my least favorite terrain ever, and I simply looked at the sky, without a clue as to what my 20 minutes alone with God was going to look like. It didn't take me long to figure it out.
See, up in the sky, there was one star that shone brighter than all the others, at least from my perspective. One star that drew my eyes back to it, no matter where my eyes wandered, because I was distracted. I saw the big (or maybe it was little, my astronomy is fuzzy) dipper, a shooting star, an airplane, other bright stars, but none of them shone as bright as that one star in the center.
I realized, in my 20 minutes, that God was that star, shining brighter than the others. The airplanes, constellations, and other stars were all those things that I'd given importance to in my life recently: my work schedule, my college classes, my friends, but I had used those other stars to distract myself from that true center. Every other star seemed dimmer in that moment because I realized that everything I had been assigning importance in my life, was only a secondary thing to what truly mattered. For 20 minutes, I didn't stop to consider how cold I was, or all the sand I was getting in my hair. None of the external factors mattered, because that very spot on the sand was where God needed me to be, right under the star that represented Him.
If that star suddenly fell from the sky, it would have landed on my forehead. Now it never tumbled from the sky in a bright and luminous rain shower, but what did fall invisibly but beautifully, was God's love - into my heart and soul from which I had let it stray in recent months. It rekindled a fire I hadn't realized had turned into ashes inside of me. In that moment, my silent war of depression and those feelings of loneliness and desperation were gone, just for a moment.
I'm writing this, Sunday night, home from one of the greatest weekends of my life, surrounded with good people, beautiful scenery, and so much love for Jesus. Tomorrow, I'll go back to the real world where lies and greed and hate not just exist, but rule, and I will again have to take up arms to fight the battle in my head. However, I can go back to my battle with the reassurance that my war has already been won for me, a victory bought with blood long before I was even alive. But my life had been planned for already, because God knew I would be brought into the world, He knew the struggles I would have, and He knew what my 20 minutes on that lakeside alone with Him would look like.
See, the beauty of my fight is that it's never fought alone. A friend once told me that the proverb "God won't give you anything you can't handle" is a load of crap. He won't give you anything He can't handle, because He wants you to recognize what's on your plate is more than you're able to stomach and instead bring it to Him. So tomorrow, that's what I'll remember I can do. The voices in my head that tell me I'm not worth it, and ask me why I'm even on this earth don't need to be disputed by me and me alone, because there's a warrior much stronger ready to fight for me and with me.
All I can say about this weekend is thank you, God, for reminding me that I've never been without your love.