As I write this, I’m sitting on the somewhat grimy floor of a well-used room at a Christian camp. Normally I wouldn’t be lounging on the floor in a “rented” room. I generally feel like hotel floors are pretty disgusting, and there’s no doubt that this camp’s carpet has seen a few things. But, I don’t know what it is. Snuggled up here in one of those sandpaper-y wool blankets that they stash for cool nights, typing by the light of a bathroom strewn with wet clothes and dirty towels, it just feels cozy.
I’ve always loved Christian camp. Baptists are quite the campers, and our camps just always seemed awesome to me. I grew up going to the oldest Christian youth camp in the world (no kidding) in Lueders, Texas. And, I don’t know if it was the archery or the canoeing or the fact that there always seemed to be a snake sighting, or maybe it was the puppets or the funny songs or the skits, but I thought the whole thing was wonderful.
Everything about camp this week, where I am sitting in what smells like a decade’s worth of mildew, feels familiar.
As a kid you come to these camps and you’re faced with a truckload of truth, which is genially sandwiched between the most fun stuff you’ve ever done in your life. You hear the truth of your sin problem and the good news of Jesus, and then you head outside where the heat hits you like a sweaty punch to the gut but you don’t care because you want to be first in line at the snack shack. You buy a giant pickle and three candy bars and whatever else your mom would never let you have, and you enjoy it while getting in a few rounds of tetherball. I mean, it’s just the perfect combination of eternally significant truth and pure enjoyment.
And, even though it’s hard to sleep at night on a camp bed and it’s unbearably hot all day, I am still just a little bit giddy about the prospect of getting up tomorrow morning and eating a big all-the-fixins breakfast in the dining hall, singing some crazy songs with plenty of dance moves, and maybe playing a little laser tag before lunch. And, all of this is happening because kids need to know that they need Jesus. Somehow the Holy Spirit works here, in the midst of the great fun and the mosquitoes as big as Texas itself. And, I feel blessed to know what Christian camp is like, and to really love it.
Maybe that alone is just grace from God. Because, y’all, my kids are little, and I’ll be camping for many, many more years to come. Better brush up on my archery skills tomorrow!