For the past 12 days, I’ve been at kamp for staff training week. This time is all about us getting K-2 up and running before the kampers come through our gates in just two days. Now kamp, being uninhabited for the past 9 months, required a good bit of TLC before it could be presented as “the happiest place on earth.” (To be honest, if looked more like district 13 when we started…) My point is, we had a lot of work to do. We worked hard all day raking leaves, cleaning out cabins, and turning kamp back into a livable environment. But for the past few days, we’ve done nothing but sit and wait for the rain to cease.
Now, kamp has always held a special place in my heart. The lord has been using Kanakuk as my place to truly meet with him since I was 9-years-old…and here I am, 12 summers later, still learning new things about him constantly. This week, its been through reflection.
The past year was a hard one to say the least. In fact, I don’t think I’m wrong in saying that it was the hardest year of my life so far. The past 12 months have been full of heartbreak, disappointment, and missed expectations. But upon looking back at what the past year has taught me, that’s not what I see. Instead, I see restoration, humility, and blessings in disguise. What often times felt unbearable, now seems indispensable. Those things that caused anger, bitterness, doubt, and tears are now things I can rejoice in, because I can now see the fruit they’ve brought forth.
Now bear with me… This could get a little cheesy- but through he rain the past few days, the lord has revealed a lot to me about himself. The past few mornings when I’ve woken up, I’ve gone outside to spend some time in solitude on our porch that overlooks Table Rock Lake. Nestled up amongst the trees, I am amazed by the beauty of God’s creation, and the way that He sustains it so perfectly. If you think about it- no one is out there nurturing each individual shrub in the forest, and yet these rolling hills are covered completely by the leaves of thousands of tall, strong, and healthy trees.
The other day I was driving a boat, and I stopped in the middle of the lake. As far as I could see, in every direction, trees encompassed the lake, reflecting their beauty on to the water as it glistened in the sun. Trees- they provide such majestic beauty as they deliver the radiance of the sun and guide our eyes to the sky- to the heavens; where we see God’s true beauty.
“The heavens declare the Glory of God,
and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.”
I am astounded by the beauty of the creation that God simply spoke into motion- by nothing we do, we are blessed by his immaculately beautiful creation. We’ve spent nearly two weeks trying to turn kamp into something even just worth living in, and nothing we have done or could ever do is anywhere even close to the things that God simply spoke into being. It is by his power, and for his glory that each tree in this forest stands. The lord doesn’t need us to make his forest beautiful, that we might claim the glory, but he provides everything it needs to grow… Not just sunshine, but rain.
Romans 1:20 says, “For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and his divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world in the things that have been made.” Likewise, in Genesis 1:27, scripture says that “God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” Just as God reveals himself to us through the beauty of nature, he has created us to bear his image. And like the trees, God provides everything he needs for us to represent his beauty. He doesn’t need us to make ourselves more beautiful, but to trust him in both the sunshine and the rain.
Realizing the importance of the rain, its no longer a burden to sit and wait for the rain to pass. Now that I recognize it’s value, I have an entirely new appreciation for the rain… And it should be no different in my life.
The storms I’ve endured this year were by no means easy storms to face. In fact, more often than not, I wanted to give up; to throw in the towel, and move on to something I knew would be easier. But my God knew what I needed. He knew what it would take to make me grow up healthier and stronger that I was before. He knew what was necessary for me to truly bear the image of his name, and be a small testament of his beauty. He knew what it was going to take… and this time, it wasn’t sunshine.
“So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
-2 Corinthians 12:7-10