Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Morning thoughts

It's Tuesday morning on the day after Hopedale's kids' camp. It's also the first day of summer.  Just some random thoughts from this morning as I enjoy some espresso from my recently acquired stove top espresso maker. (Thanks, Chris!)

Camp was pretty awesome. It was interesting to watch things unfold and find that our plan for camp and God's plan for camp weren't exactly the same.  It almost seemed as if God was a little impatient this year (no disrespect intended--just an observation).  Normally, the lessons and worship time messages build up to an evangelical message and an invitation to make a decision to follow Jesus towards the end of camp.  This year, there were nine decisions made on the very first night of camp!  And more were made at each of the worship times that followed!

We were blessed with many first time campers and several first time adult helpers, too.  I hope that they all had a great time and will make plans to return next year.

Children's camps always have their downside for me. There are so many kids that come to these camps that have terrible home lives.  Sometimes it manifests itself through bad behavior or attention getting means.  Most of the time we see it through their response to a few people that are willing to just love them for the weekend that we have them.  It is easy to see that some of them rarely (if ever) have anything positive said about them or to them. It appears that many never have positive physical contact like a simple hug. One child said that he was sent to camp as a punishment and doesn't want his mom to know that he had a great time so that he can come back next year.  Each year, there are kids that seem very upset that camp has to come to an end and wish that they could stay.  For some, it's just a normal response to a fun weekend that comes to an end.  For others, it's a very sad moment when they realize that this fun time is over all too soon and it's time to go back their crappy life.

I'm glad that we have the opportunity to share a little bit of God's love with them. But I also fear that it's very difficult for a child to believe that God loves them when they live a life that is absent of love.  It almost makes me want to ... well, it just makes me angry. How can parents not see the hurt in the eyes of their kids?

And, although I trust that God knows what He's doing, sometimes I have to wonder -- How is this child's pain going to bring glory to you?  Questioning God's motives or methods isn't meant to make God look like the bad guy; it just shows that I really have no idea of how He works, how He thinks or how He loves.

Wish I had time to share more, but life calls ...

John <><

1 comment:

Emily said...

I know exactly how you feel. It was a challenge to explain God's love to those that have a horrible home life. If they can't even receive it from their earthly parents how can they accept it from a God that is not physically apparent to show them.
We are the physical presence for Him. Our hugs were His hugs... showing that love to them. I am worried and in prayer for many girls that I met this weekend. I pray that they can break free from a cycle of abuse and conflict.