This is the challenge I delivered last Saturday night. I passed out right after I talked about the ice storms. Apparently somebody got it on tape, and if they did I'll try and get it on YouTube and post it here.
I was saved at the beginning of middle school, and really got serious about God as I moved into high school. In the fall of my senior year I auditioned for Godspell. Little did I know what a major impact that show would have on my life. To start with, I didn’t get the role I had wanted and ended up as an understudy, which left me disappointed. I was having trouble relating to a lot of the people in the cast, even though I was good friends with many of them. It began to take over my schedule so much that I was forced to back out of other activities I had been interested in. It was difficult for me at first, but my parents kept bringing me back to Scripture and helping me see that God works everything out for my good, even when I can’t understand how.
Godspell progressed, and it seemed as if I had everything figured out and under control. But God had different plans for the show. Production week rolled around, and suddenly everything went wrong at once. We had rehearsals shortened or cancelled due to storms and ice. Members of the cast began getting sick left and right until we were forced to do the dress rehearsal with four understudies out of a main cast of 13. I was one of those understudies, and I ended up performing in the role of John the Baptist for most of the week, including opening night!
I am so thankful for the leadership of our director, Cathy Mays. Every time something went wrong, her first response was always, “God is in control, and he knows what he’s doing. Praise the Lord!” She kept the entire cast focused on God during a time when our natural reaction would have been anxiety and panic. And the amazing thing was, as we focused on God and trusted that he was in control, he always managed to work things out for the best.
Godspell is over now, and I’m moving into a new season of life, but I feel that this past year, and my experiences in Godspell specifically, have prepared me well by teaching me that God is always good, no matter what. A life of ease doesn’t help me to grow, but trials and sufferings do. God gives me trials and sufferings to sanctify me and to make me more like Jesus. So whatever happens to me in college and further on in life, I can trust that God is working it all out for my good, for as Romans 8:28 says, “in all things God works for the good of those who love him.”
I’m not the only one who has or will encounter trials. Every one of you will face trials, and many of them will be much, much more severe than what I’ve just described here. If you don’t truly believe that God is good, worry and anxiety will take over your life. Instead of standing strong and glorifying God in the trial, you will not be able to stand. I once read an article by a pastor named Dan Phillips, and he said something very helpful: Christian friend, if you are going to believe what you say you believe, then there are only two kinds of situations: situations in which you will see God's goodness immediately, or situations in which you will see God's goodness eventually.
And that is why I, Sam Branchaw, challenge you, the youth of Covenant Life Church, to trust God with all your heart, because he works all things out for the good of those who love him.