We are in a hard space at Smithville Christian High School, missing a student who did not go home from school on Friday night, and who, as of Monday morning, has still not been located.
So we started the week with a chapel on Monday morning, gathering as a student body to be informed, to give and receive comfort, and to pray. We miss Ben and want to know he is safe. We can't wait for his return. Our student services department and a counsellor are present, ready to help students who are feeling this loss and struggling with this situation. Students are reminded that if anyone has any information or thinks they have an idea that might help us find Ben, they should call the police. This is not because Ben is in trouble, but because the police have a communications network that can help in a situation like this.
Students and teachers shared words of wisdom, encouragement and supplication.
Mr. Will Lammers said when we find ourselves on a difficult journey, we can take comfort in knowing that God is in charge. He read from Psalm 121.
“1 I lift up my eyes to the hills—
from where will my help come?
2 My help comes from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth.
3 He will not let your foot be moved;
he who keeps you will not slumber.
4 He who keeps Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The Lord is your keeper;
the Lord is your shade at your right hand.
6 The sun shall not strike you by day,
nor the moon by night.
7 The Lord will keep you from all evil;
he will keep your life.
8 The Lord will keep
your going out and your coming in
from this time on and forevermore.” – Psalm 121: 1-8
Mr. Scott Antonides said when we face big problems they can seem overwhelming, especially when we don’t know how to fix them or how to help. He said he and his family are praying Romans 8.
“Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God.” – Romans 8: 26-28
Patrick reminded fellow students that our hope is in Christ.
“The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed,
a stronghold in times of trouble.” – Psalm 9:9
He said God is working for our good, and Ben’s too.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11
Patrick reminded us God cares for us when we are in trouble.
“God will never forget the needy;
“God will never forget the needy;
the hope of the afflicted will never perish.”— Psalm 9:18
Kendall reminded students how powerful prayer is in a situation like this, and that God is with us and doesn’t want us to be afraid.
“So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” – Isaiah 41:10
“The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” – Deuteronomy 31:8
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” – John 14:27
Nikole said the situation feels big and out of our control, but our prayers matter.
“Where two or three are gathered in God’s name, God is with us,” she said. In his letter to the Romans, Paul writes that God works all things for the good of those who love him, and even though this situation is scary, we can trust that God will use it for good. “Ben is wanted, he is loved, we want him back,” she said.
We listened to a video of “Oh Come to the Altar” by Elevation Worship.
Mr. Gord Park invited us to pray in small groups with the people around us, reminding us that our focus at this time is Ben. We prayed for protection for Ben, and for his family, for Ben to have wisdom, and for Ben to feel God’s loving presence.
Mr. Park ended with a closing prayer, reminding us “that God is on the job right now.”