From Camp to Ocean
The fam finished up our week of camp in SW Ohio, and drove nine hours back home on Sunday. We left again Monday morn for another nine hours south and my study break. Within the span of a couple days, we went from no cell phone service and 115 smelly campers to beach and the aromatherapy of Coppertone. Quite a contrast.
As I soak in the rejuvenating salt air, I can’t get those little rug rats off my mind. This year’s camp was harder. There was brokenness unfolding at this week like never before. Divorce. Grandparents raising elementary kids. Poverty. So many kids were on daily meds. They took their meds to sleep, to wake up, to focus, to chill, for anxiety, and even for schizophrenia. So many meds.
There were boy fights to break up, and girl drama to clam down. One boy dropped the “F” bomb so many times, he made a Tom Cruise flick seem like an innocent episode of Spongebob. Wow. Another kid at my meal table told me he finally got a dad when he was three, and was adopted at five. The stories enabling the broken behavior never ceased to amaze me. Ironically, my task was to teach the fruit of the Spirit. Things like love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, goodness, and self control have never been more appropriate or needed than at this week of camp.
I needed this week of camp. I’m broken too. I need Jesus and His fruit to help with my mess. He’s the only answer. I cannot look down at any of these little messy campers from my superior, religious perch. Their sin and brokenness reflects mine. Timothy Keller writes, “Sin is looking to something else besides God for your salvation.” The only salvation for the campers and me is Jesus. The campers take meds, and I look for success as human means for some shadow of salvation. It does, however, only come through Jesus.
By the end of our week of camp, 35 kids wanted to know more about Jesus, the cross, grace, sin, our human predicament of sin, and baptism. Twenty-five surrendered their lives to Jesus and were baptized. We battled and loved and wrestled and taught and poured ourselves out so that Jesus could draw messy campers to Himself. I’d do it all over again if given the chance. I’m booked for next year.
Sitting by the beach today, I wondered where all the kids were today. Was anybody loving on them? Did anyone call them by name and high five them? Was love used more than meds to continue shaping these kids? Were the joy and lessons of camp still alive, or did a new week bring challenges to erase any ground gained? I have to trust Jesus with the seeds planted.
I’m glad there’s Biblical reason for sin and evil. I’m glad there’s evidence and sound reasoning for the solution of Jesus. I’m glad that one day the joy of the EPIC gospel and a renewed earth will be so AMAZING… that the most miserable life will be (as St. Teresa of Avila was reputed to have said), “like one night in a bad motel.”
I’m glad for Jesus who can save us from our bad motels. And so I end day one of my study break. Keller’s “Encounters with Jesus” is a good, refreshing read to keep a laser-like focus on Jesus. I’m 149 pages in…