At FCA, we regularly listen to professional and collegiate athletes share their testimonies, we hear uplifting messages from youth pastors, and we are captivated by spoken word artists,magicians, and war veterans. And yet, there is something uniquely special about a student sharing with their peers. The authenticity, courage, and faith it requires for a student to stand in front of their friends and share how God is moving in their life is astounding. Last Friday at Newport Harbor and Corona del Mar, two influential student leaders, Marley Aragon and Carly Micheal shared their stories at their respective campuses.
At Newport Harbor, Marley shared his moving testimony of God’s love and redemption. He shared that feelings of isolation and brokenness led to him to begin drinking at a young age in an attempt to secure acceptance and numb his pain. However this temporary relief only led to greater brokenness and he realized there was something missing in his life. Around that time, he was introduced to Young Life and through that ministry came to know the unconditional love of Jesus Christ. Marley came to realize that the life he had been living was no where near the life that God wanted for him.
Marley encouraged the students that, no matter what shame or brokenness they had in their past, God was inviting them into a redeeming relationship with Him. He shared 2 Corinthians 12:19, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” and Jeremiah 29:11, “‘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 a hope and a future.'”
At Corona del Mar, Carly delivered a powerful message on the importance of sacrificing our illusion of control in favor of surrendering to Christ. She shared her personal journey of learning to let go of control and trust that God is watching over her. This journey culminated in a recent decision to go skydiving on her 18th birthday. While free falling through the sky, Carly was overwhelmed by the incredible scope of God’s creation and realized anew His incredible might and power. If my God created the entire universe, she mused, He certainly is capable of providing for my own life.
Carly shared Proverbs 16:19, “in their hearts, humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.” Carly reminded the students that it is good to have plans and hopes and dreams, but, ultimately it is God who is in control of their lives. And what a blessing that is, that the God who loves us more than we could ever imagine is intimately involved in our daily life and longs to guide us along His path, if only we will put our full faith in Him.