For almost four years I have been involved in a small group that meets on Sunday nights. These dear friends have walked with me through some very difficult times and celebrated with me in the joyous moments of life. They have challenged me to grow deeper in my faith and supported me in the times I couldn't do life alone.
Around the same time I joined small group, I started volunteering with the youth group. I have a desire to see all people take their next step toward Jesus, but teenagers hold a special place in my heart. I have loved getting to know the teens and watching them grow and mature over the last four years. Last summer the youth pastors at my church made the decision to change the format of the high school youth ministry. Instead of meeting together on Wednesday night, they started meeting on Sunday nights. Even though it was a fantastic change for the youth, I was devastated because small group and youth group were now on the same night. I toyed with the idea of finding a different small group or plugging into a different youth ministry (like Young Life), but I didn't like either idea. Eventually Seth and Adam made my decision for me. They told me about an opportunity to meet with a small group of teens on Wednesday nights. I was relieved that I wouldn't have to leave "my kids" at St. Mark. And by facilitating a small group on Wednesday nights, I was still able to be a part of my own small group on Sundays.
As great as it was to still be involved with the teens on Wednesday nights, I didn't get to see very many of them. Because of that I didn't feel very connected to the youth this past year. It's hard to maintain a ministry when I don't feel connected, so this summer I made a very difficult decision. I decided that I would leave my wonderful, faithful small group in order to serve the youth on Sunday nights. It was a really hard decision to make because my small group has become my core group of friends, and there are many of them that I only see at small group. When I made the decision to dedicate Sunday nights to the student ministry, I knew I would have to trust God to lead me to another small group. Some days it's easier to do that than others.
This morning I was really struggling with trusting God to provide another small group. I spoke with the guy in charge of small groups, and things don't look promising from my perspective right now. As the service started I was racking my brain and looking at the congregation trying to figure out who could possibly be in my new small group. I almost started crying because the situation seems so bleak: I don't know of anyone who is roughly my age and is not in a small group already. Then the Lord broke through my fear and calmed the storm inside me through the hymn we were singing:
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain;
leave to your God to order and provide;
in every change God faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul: your best, your heavenly friend
through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.
Be still, my soul: your God will undertake
to guide the future, as in ages past.
Your hope, your confidence let nothing shake;
all now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul: the waves and winds still know
the Christ who ruled them while he dwelt below.
Be still, my soul: the hour is hastening on
when we shall be forever with the Lord,
when disappointment, grief, and fear are gone,
sorrow for forgot, love's purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul: when change and tears are past,
all safe and blessed we shall meet at last.