Pentecostal kids ask God to grow a girl a new eye, youth pastor angry with their efforts
Here’s one of my worst church experiences growing up. It was in the late ‘90s, and I was attending the annual Pentecostal high school youth group camp.
Each night we would hold a chapel service, and it seemed like each night was getting more and more intense. I knew a girl from our youth group who lost an eye in her childhood, so she had a glass eye. One night about four days in, the high school pastor was so convinced that the Holy Spirit was moving that he had her take out her glass eye so that God had room to grow her a new eye. The worship band started up, she took out her glass eye and reached her hands up. Then the 20-or-so kids around her reached out and laid their hands on her shoulders and back, with a few on her head, and the rest of the crowd (probably another 100 high schoolers) extended their arms toward her. Most of these kids had been “baptized in the Holy Ghost” so most of them were blessed with speaking in tongues; I was one of them. The mass group hypnotism was rich, and it was fairly intoxicating KNOWING that God was going to grow her a new eye, as we all had faith much larger than a mustard seed. Jesus said it could happen, and if it was going to happen, it would be that night.
Awhile into the massively focused prayer session, the crowd started to lose their fervor. After all, God answers all prayers, but sometimes the answer is “No.” That wasn’t an answer that we wanted, so those of us that were still going strong prayed even harder. Another bit of time went by and now we were running past the typical chapel service end. People that weren’t still praying hard were getting sleepy, and sitting down letting their arms rest on the chair backs of the row in front of them. Another few minutes and we started to see people head to their cabins. The dedicated kept going, until finally the youth pastor called it. The girl put her glass eye back in, and we all sat back down to listen to his final words for the evening.
I was pretty sure that we would be hearing about how God can work miracles and everything is possible, yadda, yadda… Instead, we got a completely disgusted look from him. He spoke each word slowly, like he was genuinely angry with us for not being able to make this miracle happen. He was certain that someone in the room was still doubting, and this is the reason that God wouldn’t answer our prayers. I wasn’t expecting it, but I started to question my own devoutness. Was it me that didn’t pray hard enough? Why wouldn’t God show us his amazing healing powers? After the final words were spoken, we all headed out to our cabins, an hour or more past the normal lights out.
I went to bed that night thinking that I needed to grow even closer to God, through a pretty hardcore rebuke. Not until after I left the church, another five or six years later, did I even think about how that girl must have felt that evening. That sucked for all of us, and was pretty faith shaking, but it must have really sucked for her.
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