(Incident from the summer of 2010)
It’s Saturday evening toward nine. I’ve been at a beautiful camp in northern Michigan this week speaking to teens. I speak twice a day and spend time with campers and counselors between my chapel talks. It’s been gray and cool most of the week.
I came tired and pressured from the ministry down-state so I’ve enjoyed the extra rest and refreshment of unhurried reading. My quarters are pleasant pine-paneled rooms in the chapel where I speak. I’ve been coming here for years so it’s a familiar and welcome place to me. The came is named Camp Barakel. Barakel means “where God has blessed” and over the years it’s been obvious to me that He has. The first time I ever set foot on this camp I had a sense of the presence of the Lord and the blessing of the Lord. Over thirteen years ago sitting in this very room God impressed on my heart that this camp would be a significant place in my life. At the time I did not know why, but God has clearly made it significant in a number of profound ways, but those are stories to tell another time.
It’s an hour before the start of chapel and normally I would be thinking through my talk, but I felt a tug to walk down to the lake to spend some time in prayer. Next week I’ll be back downstate and I will my regular responsibilities will resume. I will preach this evening. If my timing is good Chapel will end about 10:30. I have the Jeep packed and I will drive away as campers quietly walk back to their cabins. I will drive down state, my heart full from a week of ministry. I’ll get a large iced coffee in Mio. It will keep me awake until I arrive home about 2:30 a.m. In the morning I will be in the Evangel pulpit again. I realize that I’ve been here all week and haven’t been down to the Lake. I’m not sure when I will be back.
I walked out into the evening and down the wooded path toward the lake. The sun had come out for the first time all week. The air was filled with the fragrance of new-washed pine. Rain droplets formed on the needles and glistening in the evening sunlight. The water was still, the air was cool and all was quiet.
On the other side of the camp the Junior campers were gathering into chapel. I begin to talk to the Lord. Thanks comes easy tonight. I’m in my element when I’m preaching and spending time among people. It’s been a good week. Since Sunday morning back home I have spoken about a dozen times. My heart is full and I am filled with a powerful sense of well-being, a deep conviction of the goodness of the Lord. I thank him for the week and the great privilege of being his Herald. It’s all I have ever wanted to do since I was fourteen years old. I pour my heart out to God over and over in thankful prayer.
I pray and sing and follow the path along the edge of the lake. A lone fisherman silently casts his line into the long shadows of the trees in the southwest corner of the lake. Praying I climb to a high place overlooking the water and stand with my hands lifted in praise. The silence is broken by music wafting out over the lake. The Juniors have been together all week and by this time in the week they sing with enthusiastic energy. The songs work their way down into your soul during the week. Standing there, listening to the singing, joyful tears of thankful worship run down my face.
I’ve always taken the call of the Loon as special sign of God’s love for me. He knows how much I love it and how rarely I hear it. As the music from chapel fades the silence is broken by the haunting call of a Loon carried on the wind from Shamrock Lake to the north. I’ts been a good week. I’m ready to preach. I turn and follow the wooded path up the hill toward the chapel.
May 27, 2013