In this morning’s devotion Peter questions Jesus, “Look, we have left everything and followed you. What’s in it for us?” You can feel Peter’s anxiety bubbling over in his words. These words jumped out at me today as I spend the week at a camp teaching confirmation. It’s the last week of camp and this place feels like the epicenter of, “We left everything behind.”
Counselors leave everything behind to serve, but so do campers. For campers the experience of leaving everything behind is so much more impactful. For many, this maybe their first experience away from home. Every aspect of life that breathes security is replaced by something new and different. It causes a lot of genuine anxiety.
There are also a group of high school students here working with the campers. I’ve listened to this group talk about their excitement of going away to college. When we return from camp many of them will leave everything behind to pursue an education. I wonder how many realize a time will come when they will be homesick. Anxiety will fill them over the reality of leaving everything behind.
Adults empathize with children as they go through these stages. We remember when we endured them ourselves. But, it’s an experience we cannot live for them. They have to go through it on their own. Yet, in our own children departing, we as parents enter a world where everything is being left behind. It will conjure up their own anxieties.
In responding to Peter’s anxieties Jesus addresses our own. He says, “…For God all things are possible.” Then tells Peter there will be joy and fulfillment for those who leave everything behind for my sake. We know this to be true. Otherwise, we would never marry, never have children, never go to college and never take a new job. We leave things behind all the time. Prayer cannot cure every anxiety, but it certainly helps us cope with the changes in our life. It helps us see the joy and fulfillment waiting to be experienced. (Mt. 19: 23-30)