Last week we got to hear from two of Marantha’s teens about their experiences on the recent winter retreat. This week, I hope you will be encouraged to read two more testimonies of God’s faithfulness to Tenth’s youth at the retreat.
First up is David Matej, an 8th grader at The Christian Academy. He enjoys soccer, football, running, and video games. Next, you'll hear from Mayim Kim, 17, a senior at Upper Dublin High School. She spends her time reading, swimming, and playing with her little sister. Her tentative future plans are to take a year off and then enroll at Temple University (I hear it’s a good school) in the fall of 2015.
Last week I went on the infamous winter retreat with Maranatha. This being my second year, I know that the anticipation for the retreat increases even more after each year. There are many things to look forward to, and you gain many stories to tell the younger kids so that they won’t be able to wait until they get to go! From eating meals together or playing our version of capture the flag, we are able to strengthen our relationships with others and meet new people.
Of course we do not simply play games and fool around—we also listen to talks by speakers. This year we heard Pastor Will Spokes speak about doubting. Earlier Dora, our leader, said that God leads us to be at the retreat for a reason and that the lessons will speak to us in different ways. I found this to be true while listening to his talks. A few years ago my friend was diagnosed with cancer. It was a scary time as cancer is deadly and kills about 8 million people globally. My friend survived and recovered from the disease but the incident left him doubting. Once he confided in me that he was having trouble trusting God and he said he was confused. After listening to Pastor Spokes, it encouraged me and showed me how to deal with my own doubts and how to help my friend deal with his.
Pastor Will Spokes talked about doubt and he introduced me to a new perspective that doubts are just based on alternate beliefs. I always thought that lack of confidence in something or someone goes together with doubt. But alternate beliefs prove a different twist. Pastor Spokes told the story of the Great Commission and how the disciples reacted to seeing Jesus for the first time after he was resurrected. This is an example of how the disciples doubted Jesus even though they could see him.
The alternate beliefs that contribute to our doubt mean that we, as God’s children, aren’t perfect. Those other beliefs are what we make up. Not being able to see Jesus or to give proof that he lives may sway our belief that he is here and with us all the time. Doubts are then planted in our minds. But God, no matter our doubts about him, accepts us.
So how can I stay strong in my beliefs in God and Jesus? Pastor Spokes said to understand the beliefs you hold and to grow in humility. God is patient with us and is gently drawing me closer to him, using and providing experiences like the Maranatha retreat to address my doubts.
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Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By Jonathan Cruse. © 2021 Tenth Presbyterian Church. Website: tenth.org