True North Corps’ weekend trip to the coast was a weekend I will always remember. I was encouraged and challenged. I got soaked in rain and by the Holy Spirit.
Willy Brandle, a guest missionary, said during his reflection on faith, “faith is an essential item. Without faith, it is impossible to please God.”
His teachings were supported by stories about how those same concepts were revealed in his own life. One such story was that of Brandle waiting on the Lord for his direction to spread the Gospel in South Africa. He remembers a conversation with God: “’Do you believe you are going to Angola?’ The Lord asked me. ‘Yes,’ I said. ‘Then why don’t you get ready?’”
Brandle challenged me to push myself to have full faith in God and not to rely on my own strength or wisdom. When I talked to him personally, with the noise of games of ping pong and pool, the laughter of students and the piano’s loud but beautiful tone whirring around us, he told me, “My main concern is not that someone should go, but that they should be who they ought to be and where they need to be.”
His passion for missions and for teenagers is evident. His wife, Angela calls him “the oldest teenager out there.”
In addition to challenging our faith, Angela urged us to surrender our inhibitions to God.
“If I take my hands off the controls, God could literally take me anywhere,” she said.
Her testimony showed this surrender in action. At one moment she asked God to take control of her life, saying to him,“I give you my whole life, God, now will you show me what to do with it?”
This message resonated with me. I went outside and sat on a bench during the time of prayer. My feet were wet and I shivered as I whispered my prayer under my breath. Lord, help me. Help me to surrender to You. Help me surrender everything. Let not my will but yours be done.
I had been struggling with control for a while. With homework, relationships, and work, I often feel like I am barely staying above water. It almost seems that my life would fall apart without me holding onto it with a stressed-out death grip. In my mind, to let go of this control would be to fall and fail.
Through the Brandles and the other missionaries at the retreat, I have been reset to strive after God’s will and am slowly but surely losing control of my own inhibitions.
Good things – God things – come when you let go of the controls, loosen your grip on your life and open your heart and life to God’s more marvelous plans.