Camping Memories

Last week we set up our tent camper next to a clear and babbling brook.  The first part of the week we spent with two granddaughters, and then we traded them in for three grandsons the second part of the week.  As always, camping made memories.

First, I was reminded of the relentless responsibilities of parenting.  How wise of God not to give children to older people!  The children were pretty well-behaved but there are always matters to referee, explanations to make that aren’t persuasive to the young, and convictions that adults assume but children don’t.

Second, what God says about His fallen world was proven yet again; starting with me.  The Grandpa in me was often at war with what I wanted to do–or with my passion for relaxation.  Even the animals insisted on their own way.  When we couldn’t start our car midweek, we had it towed to a nearby garage. The next day the mechanic explained that small rodents–mice or chipmunks, had chewed through the wiring harness.   Much cheaper than the starter or ignition I figured would need replaced, it was nonetheless a reminder that even the animal kingdom needs restoration from the curse of sin (Rom.8:20-22).

The same day the car was repaired, I left my watch in the rest room after showering.  When I returned later, it was gone.  No one had turned it in to the office.  I wasn’t terribly surprised  “None is righteous, no, not one” (Rom.3:10).

All of this because of a snake.  His words bewitched Eve and she bewitched her husband to transfer his allegiance from God.

The same day my watch vanished and the chipmunks were exposed, Betty met me as I returned from the rest room.  She clearly wanted to talk with me away from the boys and her face filled me with concern.  I mentally began conjuring up possible calamities that could have happened in the past 20 minutes.

“There’s a snake at our campsite!”  To say Betty does not like snakes would be like saying a chicken doesn’t especially care for a hawk.  I’ve seen her walk out of the room when one appeared on TV.  This northern water snake turned out to be about 18″ long and harmless, but his offense was that he was THERE.  The boys helped me scoop him up in a net, and we took him to someone else’s campsite.  (Nah, but we did relocate him.)

I thought of how differently my wife responded to this snake than Eve did.  Eve ran to the serpent, Betty ran from him.  Eve liked his presence, Betty despised his.  Eve urged her husband to embrace that snake, Betty came to hers for protection from this snake.

Third, despite the sin fingerprints that Satan, the world, and I leave behind on our paths, God’s fingerprints of redemption are just as present: the Christian family from Mechanicsburg camping next to ours.  The magnificent weather we enjoyed.  Safe use of the waterslides.  Mike & Debbie’s Christian neighbor Craig who works at the campground and tried to help us start the car, then recommended a local garage when he couldn’t.  The campground maintenance man who is married to someone who used to come to Keystone, who found a book in the rest room, and somehow concluded it was mine and returned it.  The exposure of hidden bigotry in my own heart.  And on and on…  Ah, the memories!

Weather Run Amok

Again, tornadoes have recently wrecked havoc in places like Oklahoma, Missouri, Texas and Illinois.  Whose fault is it?

Some like Rhode Island’s Senator Whitehouse blame climate change deniers who won’t sell their SUV’s or get behind taxbombing as a way to fix the greenhouse gas problem they blame on fossil fuels and methane.  Others, like the woman I spoke with over the weekend, seem to be mad at God.  At least she seems to be looking in the right place.  The weather buck always stops there.

God brazenly takes credit whether sea levels rise or rivers dry up (Isaiah 50:2; 51:15; Psalm 135:6).  The rain clouds are His (Job 37:15, Psalm 148:8, Zech.10:1) and each one salutes when ordered “Go there, begin then, drop that much” (Amos 4:7-8).  Whether a jagged track or a brilliant burst of daylight in the darkness, everywhere lightening flashes or strikes is determined by its Pilot (Job 36:32; 37:15).  Every wind–even the 200 mph kind of an EF5 tornado, marches to God’s orders (Psalm 148:8).

Admittedly, wrecked homes, wrecked lives, and dead children leave us demanding of God, “Why?” and “Don’t You care?”  An ancient blood-streaked cross outside Jerusalem has conclusively answered the second question.  “Why?” presupposes we have the right and the wisdom to understand.  We don’t.  Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God!  How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!  Rom.11:33.

Every disaster leaves behind rubble, …and a mission field; one that many of God’s servants step up to serve in without letting the questions deter them.  They may not have all the answers, but they at least have the most important one.

Finances are the greatest immediate need since local responders are asking that teams not come just yet.  Click to donate through the EFCA.