I worked a full summer this year as a Workstaffer. Coming into the summer I developed certain expectations of what the summer was going to look like, I figured it would be a bunch of hard work, fun, and Jesus love. While those things were part of it, it turned out to be abundantly more. Rich, hard, growing, fulfilling, and trying are all words that can be used to describe this summer. The Lord taught me a lot about stress and being put through the fire. He also taught me about security and being at absolute rest, and how those two things merge. LFR Summer ’19 was a thumbnail of what the Christian life is like. There is no such thing as a Christian without sacrifice. Whether you’re Christian or not you struggle, but Christians hold weighty responsibilities that nonbelievers don’t. We are called to go, to be disciplined, to discipline, to disciple, to love, to be whoever God has called us to be. This is a place that requires a fire and a passion that isn’t normally possessed by humankind. All the more, we are granted with eternal peace and joy, which is even more alien to humankind. So when the various fires and struggles of camp life came, when I lacked the peace, I lacked the love, and when I lacked the passion I lacked the courage.
I am forever grateful for every struggle and every trial I faced this summer. I am also forever grateful for the times of great peace. What has been the epitome of it all was when God granted me peace in the struggles. When Matthew 11:28-30 “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” and Matthew 6:27, 34 “And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 34 Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” collided with Matthew 14:10-13 “He sent and had John beheaded in prison, and his head was brought on a platter and given to the girl, and she brought it to her mother. And his disciples came and took the body and buried it, and they went and told Jesus. Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a desolate place by himself. But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the towns.” Hard things happen. John the Baptist was beheaded for his faith. Jesus went to be alone when hearing of the news, one could assume for many reasons. Maybe it was because Jesus was closely linked to John the Baptist and it was a safety precaution. Possibly, it was so He wouldn’t be barraged with questions. I think first and foremost it was so Jesus could go and pray and have communion with the Father. Jesus faced the fire of this world, gave it over to the Father, and then directly after continued to serve with the feeding of the five thousand.
This is what I’ve learned to do this summer. Face trials, give it to God, and continue to follow Him in peace. We are called to so much more responsibilities as Christians, but what’s cool is Jesus bears our burdens. He provides the strength. We are going to go through trials no matter what, and we will learn from them, and we will experience all of the hard feelings that come from them, but God is there through it all. It is so much more fulfilling, wise, and joyful to give our struggles and suffering over to God and to rest in that. We can rest in our pain and we can rest in our negative emotions. God has good purpose in all of it. James 1:2-4 “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”