O God from My Youth You have taught Me!

Psalm 71: 5 For you, O Lord, are my hope, my trust, O Lord, from my youth.

6    Upon you I have leaned from my birth; it was you who took me from my mother’s womb. My praise is continually of you. [1]

 

Courtnie Thomas in her championship volleyball game - Detroit Public Schools, Michigan (Cass Technical High School)
Courtnie Thomas in her championship volleyball game – Detroit Public Schools, Michigan (Cass Technical High School)

Yesterday morning at 7:29 AM I received a text message from one of the young persons who attends the church I pastor. I was too tickled to see that she was inviting me to come and watch her high school junior varsity volleyball team square off in the city wide championship later that afternoon. Immediately, I checked my schedule to make sure I could attend and I text her back to say yes.

One of the things I like about pastoring a church is the opportunities to interact with individuals and families on a personal level. This particular girl had participated as a member of the Confirmation of Faith Class that met earlier this year for ten weeks, meeting each Sunday after church at my home for lunch and conversation regarding matters of faith. On Maundy Thursday evening, she and several other young persons were formally made members of the church. Like the other young persons, she created and delivered a speech in front of the entire congregation.

Cass Technical High School Junior Varsity Girls Volleyball Team
Cass Technical High School Junior Varsity Girls Volleyball Team

Pastorally, I realized the significance of her invitation because of the opportunity to witness her in an area of her life I was not aware of. It also would give me an opportunity to further bond and connect with her mother and father. As I made my way to Martin Luther King Jr. High School in Detroit, Michigan, I thought about the fresh faith I recalled in Courtnie’s Confirmation of Faith Speech to the Church. I thought about her words about prayer and when and for what she prayed for. I also thought about how as adults we do not have a clue as to how children will develop, but what the good parent and guardian will do is to provide opportunities for growth and stimulation for young minds. So, if the interest is volleyball that is where we begin. If the interest is music that is what the good parent and guardian will focus. If the interest is science and math, that is what the good parent will support. Most of all, the good parent and guardian will make sure to expose a child to Jesus Christ. Exposure to Jesus at an early age will insure that a young person will develop spiritually and have a wonderful opportunity to know Jesus Christ for themselves.

As it turned out, Courtnies’s team, the Cass Technical High School team, won the city wide championship. I sat with her mom, Celia Thomas and sister, Cassandra. James, the dutiful father had a vantage point in the end zone and was making a video of the entire championship game. When serving the ball, Courtnie scored so many consecutive points I thought about the book of Revelation where John said he saw a number that he could not number! (Rev. 7:9).

Courtnie Thomas, preparing to serve
Courtnie Thomas, preparing to serve

I do not know if Courtnie plans to do much more with volleyball, but for this stage of her life she is having fun and finding relevance. From an adult standpoint I believe it is our role to support and encourage the youth in all things that are good and wholesome.

I encourage you to take a look at the following passages from the Bible that speak to youth. As you read these verses I would like you to think back to your own youth and where you were spiritually.

Courtney, getting ready to "Let it Rip!"
Courtney, getting ready to “Let it Rip!”

1 timothy 4: 12 Let no one despise your youth, but set the believers an example in speech and conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.[2]

Psalm 71: 17 O God, from my youth you have taught me,

and I still proclaim your wondrous deeds.

18  So even to old age and gray hairs,

O God, do not forsake me,

until I proclaim your might

to all the generations to come.[3]

Cass Technical High School Junior Varsity Volleyball Team
Cass Technical High School Junior Varsity Volleyball Team

Questions for Reflection:

  1. How has your perspective of God evolved from your youth?
  2. What was it that first drew you to God in your youth?
  3. What are or were some of the more challenging aspects of faith you recall from your youth?
  4. Are there or were there aspects of your faith that were more pure in your youth?
  5. Other questions for reflection about youth and God?

Prayer:

God, I thank you for youth. I thank you that each year you allow a new group of young persons to be born. I thank you for the enthusiasm of youth. I thank you for the energy of youth. I thank you for the excitement of youth. I thank you for the faith of the young. Lord, grant this world a continuing stream of young people with fresh ideas, fresh hope, fresh faith that all things are possible and that all things will work together for good for those who love you. Through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior we pray. Amen.

Written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

Photos by Nicholas Hood III

Cass Tech Junior Varsity Pregame
Cass Tech Junior Varsity Pregame

Additional Prayers Photos and Meditations from Rev. Hood at https://nicholashoodiiiministries.wordpress.com/

“The Test, The Strength, The Endurance, and the Way Out” – a new book of original prayers and photos written and taken by Nicholas Hood III is available for only $15 online at www.nicholashoodiiiministries.org

[1] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. 1989 (Ps 71:5–6). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[2] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. 1989 (1 Ti 4:12). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[3] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. 1989 (Ps 71:17–18). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.