When the Thrill is Gone

A letter to the radical leaders of Every Nation Campus Caloocan.

Dear Radical Christian Student Leader,

            Our Radikal Leaders Camp 2019 just came to a close. How do you feel? Are you hyped-up and excited to not just change your campuses, but also your communities, and families? Do you feel it flowing through your veins—the feeling that you and me could really change the world? I’m willing to bet that you do feel like that.

            But…

            What happens when the dancing lights fade and the feeling of dancing for and with God in worship suddenly turns into dancing with some of life’s toughest villains? Have you felt it yet? Give it a few more days or a couple more weeks and you will begin to find yourself back into the regular swing of things. No more team practices in order to prepare for the leaders’ night dance battle. No more Romar Borromeo uttering the words, “mga talunan!” No more encountering God in hair-raising full-band worship sessions. You won’t find Romar—the one guy everyone wants to punch so badly—talking smack to your group. There won’t be anymore Rayzen Pamatian memes spreading around. And the messages that were preached to you will no longer make your heart throb like it did when you first heard it. The sensations will soon dissipate. You will be back in the normal stream things. Sooner or later you will find yourself back in your classroom. At the end of the week you will be attending regular Youth and Sunday services under the same pastor you always listen to, with worship teams that sometimes lack a guitarist or pianist. In no time at all, reality will punch you in the face and will smother you with all of its normalness.

“Should that time come and the thrill is all but gone, will you disappear as well?”

            The question remains, will the “fire” keep burning in your heart? Or will you wait for the next camp for it to be “lit it up” once more? Will your heart still cry over all the lost souls wandering about this earth? As you see the next generation suffering in a broken world, will that heart of yours still want to fight for them? When feelings submerge and things begin to level down, what will you do? Gradually you might not even experience the actual feeling that God is near. Should that time come and the thrill is all but gone, will you disappear as well?

            I hope that your answer to my last question is a resounding “NO!”

The sensations of God being near may soon vanish for a time, but let me tell you those will just be feelings. Stand on the truth that He will always be there.

            Hopefully you are already asking yourself, “What must I do now?” How am I going to deal with this?

In his book Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis writes,

            “Let the thrill go—let it die away—go on through that period of death into the quieter interest and happiness that follows—and you will find you are living in a world of thrills all the time.”

            Though Lewis stated this in a chapter on Christian marriage, it is in my heart for all of us to realize that this statement’s significance go far beyond marriage. And as I see it, we find ourselves in a situation where we would be wise to take what Lewis said and contextualize it to our present circumstances.

“Even the most powerful events will never sustain us. And it never will. Only God can do that.”

            If you are looking for an innovative and brand new bombastic thing to help you as you cope up with the loss of those deep sensations you felt during camp, then I will be of no help to you. But what I am suggesting is for you to perceive that we need not look for new truths, but that we must come to an even fuller understanding of the timeless truths we already know.

“Dude, what do you mean?”

It is quite simple really. Even the most powerful events will never sustain us. And it never will. Only God can do that. We agree that there in CALIRAYA we have met with God, but this is not a one-time deal. We are in this for the long haul—the entirety of our lives, really. If we intend to finish strong we need to have the best foundation we can ever have—Jesus Christ.

You have reached the part where I would like to encourage you to do something, something very simple but not necessarily easy. And that is to keep on pursuing God, doing the things of God, to keep worshipping His name, discipling the next generation, fellowshipping with other believers, to keep reading and studying His Word, and not just that but to encounter Him every single day of your life. And it is through these things that you will find new thrills continually rising up in your life from time to time.

Somehow things may get quieter, but do not let it be equated to gloom. Rather live in peace and joy. Know that “joy is the flag that flies on the castle of the heart when the King is in residence there.” As you are in Christ, your joy is not just happiness based on happenstance but it is constant no matter what the circumstances are. Let it be your chief objective every morning to pray to God and ask Him to give you that silent strength flowing from a joyous heart, utterly sold out in God’s love.

To end, let me put it this way, in Matthew 7:24-25 Jesus said,

 25Everyone who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 24 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house but it did not fall,”

“So it is my prayer that you would not fall into the trap of making thrills your regular diet, for if you do so you become a fool trying to muster up artificial feelings.”

You want to press on? You want to hold your ground as life’s battles keep on coming? If yes, then continue communing with the Father through the normal days. Pay close attention to what the Holy Spirit illuminates and reveals to you in the pages of Scripture. And with each passing day submit all that you have and all that you are under the Lordship of the mighty King.

So it is my prayer that you would not fall into the trap of making thrills your regular diet, for if you do so you become a fool trying to muster up artificial feelings. Please don’t. But with each moment be built upon the rock. In the end, the only house that will be left standing will be the one founded on obedience to God’s word.

Take heart, radical Christian student leader, the battle has just begun.

Sincerely yours,

Just another camper dancing to Girl in the mirror.

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