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!