This week I would like to share with you an experience that my youngest son was excited to fully share with me upon his arrival home from a camping trip to a Christian music festival this past week.
After all, he started with saying, “It’s a long, crazy story and you’re going to want to write a blog post…a WHOLE blog post on this!”
How can I not if my teenager thought it was worth sharing? 😃 I do believe the experience highlights several principles that are applicable to our lives that you will be able to relate to.
I’ll add that after having him “proof” a rough draft he suggested a fresh way to write this by telling the story then asking some reflection questions so be prepared!
My son does not attend the church that he was with but occasionally he joins up with their youth group for different activities which he always enjoys. This is his third time attending this camp festival with them. It seems every year he comes back with a few special “God moments” to share so it is really great to see.
This year he was introduced to someone attending the festival for the first time, a friend of someone he met last year. They hit it off right away, both enjoying roller coaster rides and having similar interests and personalities.
After the first day, my son learned this new person doesn’t have much money and is living with a relative of theirs due to some family dynamics. He said the person “genuinely cares about everyone and how they feel. They don’t have income and it’s kind of a little rougher story.”
This person, despite not really having much money, was generous to other campers by buying some treats at the park and at a convenience store on their way home from the festival.
At the convenience store on the way home, it was interesting to learn that the mutual friend asked this person “Why are you so willing to be generous and spend money caring for others when you need it?” The friend simply said, “God will provide.”
My son texted me the second day and said, “I want to pay for this one person’s trip to this festival. It’ll be my own money and I’m fine with that.” (Though he had been saving his money for a new wooden bat as he loves baseball.) I thought for a minute, asked a few questions and said “Okay…that’s really nice of you.”
When we had a chance to talk after he arrived home, my son told me that when he was at the concert the first night, the thought to pay for the festival for this camper suddenly popped in his mind.
Yes, I know it was the Holy Spirit prompting him to do this and he agrees.
When we were conversing while he was at the festival, I said he should talk to a person in charge and have them give the person a “refund” (to make sure they would accept the gift) but he kept insisting “I got this mom. Trust me.”
I was suppose to bring the money and an envelope when he returned back to the church to be picked up. I told him we would pay for half of it because of it being a nice gesture and sacrifice on his part.
So my son wrote a quick note inside the envelope containing the money, sealed it up quick and gave it to his new friend as they were leaving. He said he was shaking when he wrote it, and he doesn’t even remember now what he said!
When I questioned him later as to why he didn’t want to go through the leader in charge, he said the fewer people who knew, the better. It was a different perspective from how I was originally looking at it, so it made me view it with a fresh lens.
After the individual got home, opened the envelope and read the note, they called my son, in tears, thanking him for his thoughtfulness and telling him how much the money and his friendship meant to them. They mentioned they felt like paying the money forward or possibly putting the money toward a goal of starting their own business someday. My son later learned that the person was not even going to go to the festival because it marked a two year anniversary of when a friend of theirs committed suicide. They struggled with going to an amusement park where they would be laughing and having fun on a day that held so much heartache. When they finally made the decision to go, they prayed that “an angel might touch them during the time at the festival to help them get through the difficult time.” The new friend said God answered that prayer to send an “angel” by having them meet and the things my son said and did to help boost their spirit, faith and belief in themselves.
My son’s faith was really strengthened in hearing these things and felt it was a “defining” moment in his faith journey. It was also touching that the mutual friend let my son know that they pray for my son to live out his faith daily with more boldness.
I often tell my son stories of “God moments” that I see with running into people or with circumstances that occur. He experienced that during the festival as well. My son is a friendly, more outspoken person who can get very excited and animated about things like roller coaster rides. Talking to the people in line and sharing joy with them is something his ride buddy and he did all the time.
There were these two older ladies who were behind them one day on one of the roller coasters. They had fun talking and sharing with one another. He was amazed to see the next day they both happened to be in line at the same roller coaster as them especially since these ladies only would ride one roller coaster a day! The ladies had so much fun with them that they wanted a picture with them so they could remember the fun times of fellowship they shared though they were strangers. He thought that was pretty cool and then got a picture with them on his phone as well.
Take a few moments to reflect on some of these questions that come to mind through my son’s sharing that resonate in your life.
When is the last time you felt the Spirit leading you to do something? Did you follow through?
When you have received a special blessing have you too felt like paying it forward?
When has someone been an angel in your life?
How can you be an angel in someone’s life this week?
When was a time when you were in need and KNEW that God would provide?
When have you shared the joy of the Lord with a stranger?
Would you be kind enough to share your answer to one of the questions in the comment section below to help build other’s faith too? Thank you in advance!
Keep on loving each other as brothers. Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it. –Hebrews 13:1-2 (NIV)
A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed. –Proverbs 11:25 (NIV)
And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. –Philippians 4:19 (NIV)