Did any of you guys ever go to Snow Camp?
Our church would go every year – just a weekend up in the mountains – just to play and learn about God.
See, if you live in Southern California, the prospect of being in snow is pretty exciting! We’d pray for cold weather and rain "down the hill" – because we knew that meant some serious inner-tubing at camp…
So, this one year, when I was in junior high, we all jumped eagerly onto the bus – and headed out.
I was pretty nervous.
You see, I hadn’t been going to Snow Camp every year – in fact, this might have been my first year. And I was scared…
I had always suffered from separation anxiety. My parents rarely left town, but when they did, I was a wreck. I even crawled through the entire 4th grade with stomachaches every day – because I was really nervous about leaving home, and being away from my mom.
And camp was a BIG DEAL.
Especially because I wasn’t in the popular crowd. I was a social Klingon – a lingering-around-the-border person. Quiet, kinda dorky, smart, shy – you get the picture.
Before we left for camp, we had to fill out registration forms. And on that form, we got to put in the names of two people who we wanted to room with.
OK - I picked two of the popular girls.
The ride up on the bus was everything you could imagine a bus full of junior high kids would be like. And of course, someone got sick – and that ALWAYS threw me for a loop.
Finally, we arrived at camp. And got our room assignments.
I was in a cabin with NO ONE I knew – not one single other person. And of course, all the popular kids were together. They had put each others’ names down – and once again, I felt left out.
Later that night, all unpacked and settled in our cabins, I felt terribly alone.
Until one of the popular girls, who was always nice to me, popped her head into the room.
"Psst. Sharon, we’ve got an extra bed. Why don’t you get your stuff and come on over?"
I was packed and in their cabin in a flash. They were all really nice to me. I felt so much better. I calmed down, and thought to myself, "This might actually be a fun weekend."
Until, a little while later, probably around 10 P.M. – another counselor came to our cabin. The two counselors whispered to each other, and looked worried.
Our counselor came to us and said, "Um. I need to go to a special meeting with the other counselors. Stay here until I get back."
She came back about 45 minutes later. She was ashen.
We asked her what was wrong.
"Well, I’m not supposed to say anything. But, I want you guys to pray really hard. There’s a girl missing, and we’re trying to find her."
And with that, she grabbed her flashlight, and disappeared again.
I cannot tell you how nervous this made me. I had visions of this girl lost in the woods with who knows what – wild animals, scary human predators, evil demonic beings. And all I could think about was how much she must be missing her mom. And how much I was now missing mine –
It must have been after midnight when our counselor finally returned.
She looked around at all our frightened and eager faces. And then she said something I had never expected to hear.
"Is one of you named Sharon?"
"Yes, I’m Sharon."
"Well, young lady – do you know that we’ve spent the last two hours scouring the woods looking for you? We thought you were lost!! Who told you you could change cabins?"
Oh boy. All eyes went to me. I started crying – and barely sputtered out my story. About all the reasons I had switched cabins…
"Why didn’t you tell someone?" she said.
I didn’t have a good reason for that one…
To her credit, she let me stay that night. The next day they made me go back to my originally assigned cabin (awkward) – and I got a royal "chewing out" from the youth pastor. It was horrible…
But here’s what I learned.
All that time I’d been praying for the "lost girl" – I had never realized that it was really me.
Have you ever ended up where you weren’t supposed to be? Have you ever prayed for all the other misguided people out there, only to learn that you should have been praying for yourself?
Have you ever failed to realize that YOU were the one who was lost?
It’s OK –
God loves to find things…
Especially little sheep that have gone astray.
"And when he has found it [the lost sheep], he will joyfully carry it home on his shoulders…In the same way, there is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven’t strayed away!" (Luke 15:5, 7)
BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"