“I don’t think God can save her.” I should have been surprised when these words travelled through my mind, but I wasn’t; I had had thoughts just like this many times before. I was listening to a lady in our community as she was told me the story of how she got to where she is today. As I heard her repeatedly say the phrase, “Things just worked out well” as she transitioned to a different stage in the story, I found myself thinking about God’s providence in bringing her through all the different seasons that she recalled to me. I thought about the fact that it was no accident that she ended up where she is today; God had brought her to this place. Then I began thinking about her salvation, and it was in regards to that area of her life that I doubted, “I don’t think God can save her.”
As I mentioned above, this wasn’t the only time that a thought like this crossed through my brain. I have had this same type of thought towards various students. I could articulate for you the message of the gospel and the greatness of God’s grace, yet I doubt both of these realities in various situations. There are certain times where I meet a student, and as I get to know them I decide whether or not God can save that student based on their background, dress, speech, actions, etc. This attitude reveals an inaccurate view of both me and God. Who am I to think that I can pick and choose who can come into the kingdom of God? Why would I doubt that God can save certain people based on any criteria? Who do I think I was when God saved me?
It is in moments like these that I need the truth of God’s Word. Romans 1:16 proclaims that the gospel is the “power of God for salvation to everyone who believes.” Scripture proclaims God’s greatness in creating all things, controlling the circumstances of kings and entire nations, causing miracles to happen, yet it is only the gospel that is called the power of God. It is this very power that I find myself doubting when my mind produces thoughts like, “I don’t think God can save her.” The powerful gospel is what took a church-destroying, Christian-killing man named Saul and turned him into a Christ-honoring, gospel-proclaiming man named Paul. This same gospel can bring any student from death to life, regardless of my expectations. When the glorious truth of the powerful gospel intersects with my prideful doubt, it makes me thankful that God does not operate according to what I think He is capable of. The gospel is the power of God for salvation; I want to move my life and ministry in a direction that reflects this reality.
Cam is a 23 year old first-time youth minister, making it happen at LaGrange Baptist Church in LaGrange, KY, with a group of about fifty students. He graduated from Eastern Kentucky University with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies, and is currently working towards his M.Div in Pastoral Studies at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He has been married for a little over a year to Kerry-Lyn, and they live in Louisville.