June 29, 2014

a small plot of land

A fragment of colors hung like a promise in the sky above the tidy rows of beans and corn, above the distant congregation of shadowy trees.

That my two weeks as a camp counselor at Camp Union would end with such a promise, an echo of Noah, is an inexpressible assurance. I cannot describe what He was promising, for I do not understand it yet. I don't need to understand, only trust.  And maybe it was to remind me of promises He already gave--Daniel 10:19, Philippians 1:6, Isaiah 30:15

On that small plot of land speckled with white structures, framed by fields that flood between patches of shadowy trees He flooded me. I could not manage it all on my own--kids were everywhere, and I snatched solitude like sneezes--unexpectedly and quickly. My patchwork of days was stitched together by learning most of all that I need Him--every hour every moment. 

I learned about pride and about how much of it I have. It took days for me to finally admit to myself and to my dear friend who brought me to camp that he was right--I did fit in, I did belong there. I had given up on belonging in youth-church settings, there had been so many failed attempts to find a place that felt like a home. Too much hurt to open up. Too much pride to admit that I was comfortable living on the fringes of places. 

I learned about love and how much of it He has. I spoke at campfire to some jr. high campers words that I had not planned nor knew until I had stood to loose them. I spoke about how we can never live out the love of God if we don't rely on Him to give it to us. A funnel cannot hold water, but when it is being used it is never empty. The Israelites could not keep manna, but they could receive it every day. We cannot hoard the love of God, but let it pour through and we will never feel empty. 

I learned about people, and how beautiful they are. I could have sobbed both Saturdays when the souls I had known for a week stumbled away like little pack mules with pillows and bags. Some hurting, some joyful, some broken, some mending, some numb, some afraid. I did not want to leave them.

I learned about the humble, and how He delights to use them. For camp has no draw--no fancy logo, no zip lines, no pool, no log cabins, no attraction to the worldly eye. But His eyes watch over, and He moves in strokes that paint what could not be illustrated by human hands. 

So I looked to see what He would paint in me and what He would paint with me. And I found that I had little faith about so many things. Perhaps I had struggled to believe His promises because I was looking not to Him but to other places for assurance. "Faith is the gaze of a soul upon a saving God." A.W. Tozer. And I came back to my One Word 365: Christ. "My dear friends, look to Christ. There die all our selfish aspirations." Alistair Begg. And our fears. And our pride. 

There may be more posts in the future about camp--perhaps more specific, perhaps some of the poems I wrote while I was at camp. I could fill a small book with thoughts and stories from my two weeks. Maybe I will. I end with this, however:

"Father, help us to give up our self-reliance...lest we live on the fringes of faith without ever being embraced by Your love." Alistair Begg.

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