It would be impossible to script more beautiful days than the last few days out on Bittersweet Farm. I’ve been walking in the cool of the morning at dawn or in the cool of the evening at dusk. The days have been sunny. The evening cools down. Fireflies are out over the lawn in the night. It’s peaceful. We’re grateful.
I’m amazed at how many people have read Finding Bittersweet. If you don’t have a copy yet I would love to send you one. Send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will tell you how to get a signed, inscribed copy directly from me.
Between the Fires
These days when I’n not puttering around in the Carriage House or tending to Bittersweet I’m writing. My current project is a book called Between the Fires; 50 Camp Lessons. Each of the 50 chapters included three things. A “Camp Lesson” the scripture upon which the lesson is based and a favorite story told at camp. I hope it will be treasure of camp lessons… truths to keep the “camp fire” burning all your life long. Today I will include one of the camp lessons from Between the Fires
Camp Lesson #9
You will never find the bottom of God’s love
Who do you know who doesn’t need love? The longing for love is universal. The longing for love is powerful. Longing for love is one of the things that makes the world go around. I promise, your favorite band sings about it all the time. Longing for love is more often than not the reason people do the things they do, good, bad and ugly.
If you heard me speak at camp there is no doubt you heard me remind you that no one or no thing on earth will ever completely fulfill your longing for love. Only God can do that. I love to tell the story to illustrate that.
The Jess Curtis Farm
Jess was born in a little house back in a remote “holler” in Kentucky. The nearest town was the county seat of Wolfe County–the little mountain town in Eastern Kentucky where my wife Lois was born. It has it’s own humble charm and there are few strangers there. After Lois’s grandfather died, her grandmother went down to the Senior Citizens Center in Campton to pick out a new husband. That’s when she met Jess. They had a couple important things in common. She loved to cook. He loved to eat. Her cooking made him happy his eating made her happy. So they were very happy—until he died of a heart attack on account of his insatiable appetite for her biscuits and gravy and her insatiable appetite for his appreciation of her biscuits and gravy.
One summer afternoon Lois and I drove out to visit the old newly-weds. Lois cherished her grandmother, Carlie. They puttered around the kitchen talking and laughing.
Like all self-respecting Kentucky homes, their place had a porch that stretched across the front of the house. Jess and I went out and set down in rockers as evening came on and talked.
I’ve been taught to ask questions and listen when I’m with older people. When you do that older people usually start bringing treasures out of their memory and sharing them with you.
I little at a time he began to tell his stories. I asked him about his place. He was proud of it.
“I was born in this house and I’m going to die here,” he said.
“Would you like me to show you around?”
“I’d love that.”
We walked. He showed me his smokehouse and his barns. He showed me his garden. Then he said; “Let me show you something else.”
I followed Jess as he led me along the edge of the woods south of his house. About a hundred yards from the house he stepped into the cool woods onto a narrow path nearly hidden from sight. He led the way for a while then stepped aside and said, “Keep going. Let me follow.”
The footpath took a turn and ended on a slab of gray rock. A steady stream of water ran over the rock and fell into an emerald-green pool about ten or twelve feet below.
I stood for a moment quiet with surprise. I listened to the music of falling water. “How deep is that pool?” I asked?
“That’s what everyone asks,” He said with a smile in his voice. “My brother and I were strong swimmers when we were young. On a hot summer day we would make hay, then we would come here and dive into this pool to cool off. We never found the bottom of that pool.”
What Are You Going to Do With Your Longing for Love?
When I was your age I felt like a big black hole of longing for love. It was behind much of what I did. Some of that was good, some of it was not so good. It took me some time to discover that what I do with my longing for love would “aim” my life. What I would do with my longing for love would power my life. It would give my life meaning and purpose.
One of the most important things to do in your youth is to connect with a source of love strong enough to last all your life and powerful enough to reach into the deepest part of your soul. You need a source of love that will still be alive when you die. You need a source of love so pure and enduring that it will still be there if everyone else in your life turns and walks away. You need a source of love so strong that it is there when the love of other well-meaning people fails.
All the time I meet teens at camps who have people in their lives who love them, but the ones who love them are troubled and weak in their love or they are sinful and selfish or broken, so their love is often good but not enough.
You don’t know it now, but this is true of everyone you know. Human love alone, as sweet and strong, as pure and powerful as it can be, will never be able to do what only God can do.
When I tell the story of Jesus and his great dying, undying love for you, when I tell the story of the death and resurrection of Jesus, do you see what I am doing? I am showing you the way to connect with the only source of love in heaven and earth that can fulfill your bottomless longing for love. This is what I want you to have down in the bottom of your soul when you drive away from camp. Jesus love for you is so deep you will never in all your life find the bottom of it.
I know it’s a confusing time for you right now. I know you are tempted to look to your parents, or a special girl or guy to satisfy your love longing, but if you do that you will be putting unreasonable pressure on mere humans. But if you learn to dive into the bottomless love of God you will have love to give. Please if you forget all the other things I said, remember this:
You will never find the bottom of God’s love.