Last summer as I read through all the student evals, I was struck by the reoccurring statement that I saw students write: that they “learned that they could become more like Jesus no matter what they struggled with or did in their past.” As we grow closer to Jesus, we learn that He loves us and His love covers our sin and struggles. And yet how often do we still fear that there is something that will keep us from being able to truly experience His love? These students’ statements made realize that we needed to camp out right there, in the middle of all the things that we think could separate us from God’s love. And to shine the light of the Gospel truth that nothing can separate us from God’s love.
The theme this summer at Ponderosa is “Through the Woods.” “The Woods” is the place in each our lives where we hide our secrets, sin and shame. It’s in this darkness where we hide from God, convinced that if He saw what we hide or do in darkness, there’s no way He would still love us. And yet the truth we’re declaring to students, as Paul writes in Romans 8, is that not even the Woods can separate us from God’s love. His love is the light that shines in the darkest parts of our lives, and calls us to journey through the Woods and live with Him. Romans 8 is the central truth to this theme and how Paul drives it home in verses 38-39 in which he declares “For I am convinced that neither death nor life…nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Please pray for the students and staff who will embark on this journey this summer, that they would be led one step closer to Jesus and know the truth about God’s incredible love for them.