Have you ever experienced that sinking feeling when you realize something is not going to work. As a child, sitting on your bike at the top of a steep hill, looking down on a hastily build jump, and realizing that you do not have the skill necessary to pull this thing off. Driving all the way to the Laundromat and finding out that you do not have any detergent. Signing up for college classes in your final semester and seeing that the course you need is only offered in the fall. We had this experience at camp this week. But God is strange and faithful and unexpected, especially in times like these.
So, right before he had to leave to shop for camp groceries, Scruffy got an e-mail from the camp book-keeping guy. I was indicating the clock with some concern. Scruff had to get out the door or he wouldn’t get back to camp in time. He shook his head at my insistence. “No, I’ve got to take care of this.”
Our book-keeper had e-mailed with a list of the bills that needed to be paid the first of January. Due to some large, unforeseen electrical costs, there was not enough money to cover everything. He needed Scruffy to tell him what to pay first and what would have to wait for our January income to come in.
It was one of those moments.
Over the lifetime of the camp, we have seen this before, many many times. Full-time ministry is an experience rife with the unknown and learning how to trust by necessity. Although we have grown accustomed to such times, they are never fun to experience. Scruff made the list and sent off that e-mail. Then he paused for just a moment to open a couple of Christmas cards. One was from a camp counselor who was at that “launching into the workforce” age. A second card was from a high school friend of mine. A friend I haven’t seen since my ten-year-reunion several years ago. The counselor sent a gift for the summer intern program and anywhere else that had a desperate need. My friend simply send her gift. Between those two simple Christmas cards the camp received enough money to pay our bills for January and fund most of our Summer Intern Program.
Thrilled, Scruffy rushed off to do the camp shopping and make deposits at the bank. When he got back he had the joy of writing an e-mail explaining how extra money had miraculously appeared in the camp account.
God could have provided for the camp before Scruffy had to write that e-mail. Before that sinking moment where we faced the realization that our best laid plans were not sufficient. But He didn’t and I for one am glad.
We survive because of God. Inside, we all know this. Our very ability to breath and pump blood through our veins and metabolize energy from our food depends upon God. But it is so easy to forget.
In those dark moments of insufficiency, that is when we see the truth. We will not succeed without God. But that is alright, because He is here, among us. Mighty and baffling and strong. Working His wonders in His own way at His own time.