This post is on what God is doing in my life right now. I cannot possibly cover it all because this is such a time of spiritual and emotional growth for me.
Right now I am working as kitchen staff at a New Life Bible Camp in Buffalo Mills, Pennsylvania. Our theme this year is “Knights of the Quest”, concentrating on the armor of God as laid out in Ephesians 6. Each day the kids study a different piece of the armor. There are eight camp weeks and the same lessons are repeated each week through the summer. The campers might not get all of it, but the staff at least is bound to learn it! I have heard these lessons so many times by now, and in so many different ways as I work with a different counselor each week, that I have learned the lessons so well. I can easily apply them to my life now, because they are present in my mind everyday.
This camp season has been a time of strong spiritual growth for me, especially in the area of devotions. I have been so often lazy with my personal time with God. I read the Bible in Sunday School, every day with my school Bible curriculum, and often with my siblings or at youth group. With all that, I often blow off personal devotions. Here at camp, time with the Lord each day is something I have to do. I have to rely on God so heavily, as camp is a time of emotional, spiritual, and physical stress. I just can’t do it on my own. I have been reading a Proverb a day, plus a devotional for summer camp staff with three Bible readings. I often read Psalms as well. I have been amazed at what I have been missing when I do not spend time in God’s love letter to me! I find myself wanting to read more and being disappointed when I have to put it down to go to work in the kitchen. I had not realized how much I needed this. Praise God for keeping me dedicated to the reading of His Word!
I have also been learning to see a bigger picture of God, as Job did. My devotional had me read in Romans 5 the other day. The subject was God’s love, but I got stuck on verses 3 and 4, when it talked about suffering bringing perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. I did not understand why character brought hope! As I thought it out piece by piece, I realized the answer. One attains perseverance by sticking it out through hardships. Why stick it out? Because we know God has a plan and we learn to rely on Him. That brings a godly character. That character is more Christ-like and more inclined to remember God’s sovereign plan for one’s life. Because of God’s plan, we have hope for our future. God has a plan far bigger than my understanding. In fact, He is so much bigger than my understanding! The night after I read this devotion, a camp leader spoke on seeing the bigger picture of God. He said that fear cannot hinder us if we realize what a mighty God we serve. He read through several chapters of Job, where God drives home to a suffering Job how big He really is. How can we doubt the hope we have in a God that big? As I mentioned in my last post, fear is an issue I deal with daily. Here I see that I need not give in to fear in any way. My God is so much bigger than that!
God has also been teaching me how to rely on Him as not only my Savior, but also my best friend. At camp, I am three hours from my dear friends and family, with a ten minute phone limit, no cell phone, Stone Age internet, and a 10-minute computer use limit. I feel so cut off from all the people I love so dearly. My heart aches for my 22-month-old baby sister, for my best friend I normally see twice a week, and my parents to whom I can tell anything. I long to talk to my 14-year-old brother, who is almost as close, and closer in some ways, as my best friend. Yet I realize that I should be relying on God as my very best friend on earth. There is no limit on the time I can spend talking to Him. The connection is always available, never slow or busy. He knows me far better than Mom, Dad, best friend, or close brother. He knows exactly what I need to hear when I come to Him feeling heartbroken or defeated. He is the one person who will never let me down. Why, oh why, should I feel lonely?
I thank everyone who has prayed for me as I seek to work out my “issues” and my struggles. They have encouraged me so much. Most of all, I thank my God and my Savior, for He is the One who will always be there to catch me when I fall (and oh, man, I do fall!).
I am such a chatterbox! I’ll check in soon with more on how camp is going. That 10-minute computer use is going into effect and there’s someone waiting!