Coming to Herbert W. Armstrong College forced me into a lot of situations that made me feel like I was in way over my head—that someone older and more experienced should have been dealing with these things. As a freshman, I was one of the youngest in my class of 25. Even into my senior year, I was still a lot younger than many of the freshmen and sophomores. But that didn’t stop God from pulling me out of my comfort zone and putting me into places older people would usually occupy.
In May 2013, I was setting up for Graduation Brunch when ac archaeology instructor Brent Nagtegaal approached me and asked, right out of the blue, if I would like to be his assistant supervisor on the Jerusalem dig for the upcoming season. My jaw dropped. I was flabbergasted! I hastily responded in the affirmative—but I realized what a hefty responsibility it would be.
The truth is, I knew hardly anything about archaeology. But Brent knew that. And so did God. And so I went to Israel, feeling about as underprepared as ever. How could I, barely 20 years old, and without even a degree in tying shoelaces, be expected to go over to Jerusalem and lead a group of about 15 people, some of which had actually studied archaeology at university? How could I tell people twice my age, with children, what to do in the field when they had so much more life experience than I?
Although God threw me into the deep end, He didn’t hang me out to dry (if you can forgive my mixed metaphor [editor’s note: nope!]). I learned a great deal under Brent’s instruction and quickly caught on to the excavation processes. The training from him and Dr. Eilat Mazar was an amazing experience, and it paid off because there were several days when Brent couldn’t make it to the dig site, and I had to step in as area supervisor for area B. That meant fulfilling not only Brent’s role, but also my own as assistant—a daunting task, but one that had to be fulfilled. The dig had to go on, and God helped me tremendously.
Coming back from the summer excavation did not leave much time for a reprieve. As my senior year began, I found out that I would be student body president, a job I was very grateful for—but I instantly realized the serious nature of it. How could I be student body president when so many of my fellow students, even freshmen, were older than I? But there is no argument here at college. If you are given something to do, you just do it and trust God to fill in the gaps.
That’s what it was all about for me—just a lot of prayer. Whether assistant supervisor on the dig or student body president—whatever it was—it was simply a matter of taking it to God, knowing that He didn’t call me to fail, trusting that He knew more than me, and understanding that He is working out His great plan.
“I’m too young” is probably an excuse all of us have used at some point in time: if not verbally, then at least in our heart of hearts. The Prophet Jeremiah offered this excuse: “Ah, Lord God! Behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child” (Jeremiah 1:6). Will we let our age hold God back? God assured Jeremiah, and He assures the young people in the Church, “Say not, I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak” (verse 7).
Think of the actions of young David. Of Daniel and his three friends. Of Esther. Of the young Christ with the doctors in the temple. Of the young minister Timothy, whom Paul admonished, “Let no man despise thy youth” (1 Timothy 4:12). Even older people can let their age inhibit the Work of God.
So what should our attitudes be like, then? Isaiah had an awesome reaction to God’s calling: “Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me” (Isaiah 6:8). Send me! Here was a man who instantly responded and was used powerfully by God throughout his life. We don’t know exactly how old he was at this point in time, but all indications are that he was fairly young. And even into his old age, he continued to warn and served as a prophet during the reigns of five successive kings. No one knows how old he was when he died. We do know that he was an elderly man by the time Hezekiah’s son Manasseh became king. His early dedication to God carried through his entire life.
Be like Isaiah. Don’t worry about your age. Don’t let your youthfulness be a burden to you or God. God works wonders through young people if they let Him. Pray to God and say:
“Here I am; send me!”