Have you ever prayed a dangerous prayer? Such as a prayer to be humbled? Or a prayer to be stretched? Well I decided to pray a prayer for tough times this summer as I headed to work at Pembina Valley Bible Camp. The moment the words came out of my mouth and into the air I already questioned myself. Why would I ever pray something like that? Who am I to even do that? Well my heart knew that I needed some tough times in order to grow like crazy so I could be ready for what was to come in September. And my heart also knew that God is faithful. And yes, without a doubt He answered those prayers this summer.
I went into the summer ready (or so I thought) to just do it. To just get it done with and come out the other side with another new adventure right around the corner. I figured summer would just be another summer at camp; counselling and teaching, loving and learning. And something to do in between leaving high school and going adventuring in the fall. I didn’t see a problem at all. I knew God wanted me to be there!
But there was a HUGE problem: I thought I could do it alone.
The first week of camp, I was wrecked. God brought me to my knees and I couldn’t believe how quickly He removed my pride.
I found out that week that I would be counselling every week of summer and after that God continued to remind me over and over that I could not do this summer without Him.
“This isn’t about you,” He said. “This is about me and what I’m going to do through you.”
That same week, someone approached me and spoke these words to me: “Hey, so I feel like God wants me to tell you the word ‘water’.”
What is that supposed to mean? And why?
Why? I like to ask that question a lot and sometimes it gets me into trouble with God. Like this situation for example. Because without waiting even a moment I was searching through to find an answer.
“Patience.” I heard Him say to me.
And sure enough, throughout that week and throughout the whole summer, ‘water’ kept coming up everywhere. Either through scripture, or through speakers, or through talking with other people, it always seemed to be there at least once every week.
“The Lord will guide you continually, giving you water when you are dry and restoring your strength. You will be like a well-watered garden, like and ever-flowing spring.” (Isaiah 58:11)
Also throughout the summer, when I was faced with the tough times that I had asked for, such as persevering through a week of sports camp in 35 degree weather, or facing a full body rash while in the midst of senior counselling a group of horse campers, God continually reminded me that He was there. Through all of it. That He truly cared about me and that He really did want the best for me. Just because He loves me.
He told me over and over again that He was going to fill me with His water. His living water, that would fill me overflowing and help me keep running this race.
I was being refined by His fire but filled with His water.
It was overwhelming at times but once the last week of summer had arrived, all that God had been teaching me had finally moved from my head to my heart and I couldn’t help but be filled with so much joy.
That same week, the speaker had been talking about running this race and finishing strong. And on the very last night, he spoke about the finish line. He told us all to close our eyes and look beyond it.
And as I looked beyond the finish line, God gave me a picture of a jungle. A huge jungle.
What is that supposed to mean?
“Looks kinda scary doesn’t it?”, He said.
Yup, the unknown is scary.
“But guess what?” He answered, “look how much life is in there. And look how big of an adventure it’s going to be! Because I Am going to be with you.”
And with that, I’m leaving this season of camp feeling ready (for real this time). Ready to join a new family – sad to leave the one I was in – but ready to start a new adventure and so ready to not go back to high school. Most of all though, I was ready to take on this new season not alone, but with Jesus by my side.
“As the deer longs for streams of water, so I long for you, O God. I thirst for God, the living God. When can I go and stand before Him?” (Psalm 42:1-2)