Jr. High camp has been an amazing and challenging adventure this week. Two girls and three boys chose to become followers of Christ, fun was had, kids were loved. A good week. But for this blog, I’m going to focus on a single moment.
There was a moment this week at camp. You know what I mean. A snapshot, an image that you never expected, a slice of time that you want to keep in your heart forever.
It looked like this…
Scruffy kneeling on the gritty linoleum of one of the boys cabins, weeping as Odysseus knelt at his side. And beside them were two twelve-year-old boys, praying for their camp director.
Not what you expected is it? Usually we see kids laughing and dumping water on their camp director, weeping themselves at campfire as they throw in a stick and share, or sitting on the wall by the bell tower listening to the camp director as he doles out a consequence for their misdeeds.
So this is how it happened. Once upon a time there was this really rowdy cabin of boys. And Scruffy gave them this totally awesome counselor because he knew just looking at the cabin assignments how very rowdy they would be. They met and exceeded all expectations and kept their counselor hopping all week long. After chapel the counselor asked Scruff to come and share his testimony, because you may not know it, but Scruffy did not walk out of the polished doors of a church and become camp director. His tale is more like that of C.S. Lewis, dragged screaming and kicking into the kingdom of God.
“I was born to a sixteen-year-old unwed mother, while my father was in jail…” was how Scruff began his testimony. And those rowdy boys listened. Because Scruffy hadn’t had everything going for him. He grew up without a dad and without a mom, surrounded by addiction, and eventually chose addiction himself. But God called and Scruff answered and never looked back.
Then cabin time was over and the boys left, all but two. Those two boys stayed and talked, for another hour. Because sometimes you need to meet someone who didn’t grow up with a dad and a mom who loved them and told them about Jesus for 18 years. Sometimes you need to meet someone whose Mom died before he started kindergarten, whose dad left when she was killed, someone who started drinking hard alcohol as a middleschooler, and was in the first stages of alcoholism before he could legally drink. And when you realize that this is the same man who has not been drunk since 1992, has served as a camp director for 15 summers, been a faithful and loving husband for 14 years this August, and a wonderful Dad for a decade, this is the kind of thing that can give a boy hope. Hope that we are not just the sum of our past plus the mistakes of our family. Hope that God has called us to be more. Hope that He loves us exactly how we are and can change us into something that we always wanted to be.
And when Scruffy shared about the fear that he did not have the skills to be the Dad to his boys that he longed to be. That without a good example, he was destined to fail. This twelve-year-old told him that he should pray and God would give him what he needed. Scruff asked the boys to pray for him…and they did.
And that was a moment that Scruff will never forget. Because sometimes God calls you to go on mission trips and become a camp director and preach mighty sermons before a crowded room. And sometimes He calls you to kneel on the floor of a messy boys cabin and ask two twelve-year-olds to pray for you. Pray that you will be more than what you were, more than you could ever accomplish on your own. Sometimes God calls us to kneel. It is hard and it is humbling. But God does amazing things when we are on our knees.