By Naemi Bätjer
On the morning of the fourth day of TeenStreet, there was a camping site on stage when the teens came in for their Mainhall meeting. Both, the tent and the campfire were significant for today’s theme: REFUGE.
When camping, a tent feels like a safe place. Even if there is chaos all around, the tent offers protection and rest. Josh explained that just like that “our Father is a refuge and a hiding place even in difficult situations.”
Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him. Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge. (Psalm 62:5-7)
“We know that we live in a chaotic, shaky world, but we also know that we have a refuge with our unshakeable God,” Debs explained. Rich shared how he experienced the shakiness of the world with his father leaving the family when he was only 3 months old and his mother having a mental breakdown when he was 11. “I have to run again and again to God for love, refuge, hope… That doesn’t mean that the storm will stop, but you are safe in His arms.”
In difficult situations our reaction can be to build walls and draw back from this world. We believe that God is our refuge but we are hiding and living in fear. Debs shared this verse from Romans:
The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father." (Romans 8:15)
We are sons and daughters of an unshakeable God. We don’t need to stay behind our walls and hide from this word. We are always in a place of refuge. “With our refuge we can move out into a world that’s hurting,” Debs encouraged the teens. The campfire illustrates how God chose to use us to bring His love and goodness, His light, to a shaky world.
Leah described what this can look like practically in prison ministry: “I was so nervous on my first day. But God was telling me: 'Do you know me?' And I said, 'You’re my Dad.' And He told me to go tell the women about that.”
Anique shared about a Dutch woman who started a foundation to fight human trafficking and prostitution in the Netherlands: “The reason she does this is that she found her refuge in Jesus, and that’s why she is fighting for justice.”
Josh sent the teens off with this challenge: “Spend time with you Dad in the tent. He will show you his plan for you. Lay down the stuff you’re carrying before your Dad and let Him fill your bag with different things: salvation, honour, hope, rest. And when you come out to the campfire you have stuff to give to people so they, too, can meet your Dad.”