UGM Camp is over for the summer, but it's worth ruminating on those marvelous eight weeks a little longer. (Unfortunately, the last week of camp was cancelled due to wild fires in the area.)
By Christina John
I’ve never seen such a beautiful picture and model of the body of Christ as churches come together in loving these kids, and I’ve honestly never seen the power and grace of God’s unconditional love the way I have at camp.
As the behavioral specialist, I have the opportunity to meet with kids in their frustrations, their tears, their anger, their pain, and their struggle of how to accept the love of others. These beautiful children pour out their hearts to me, sharing their backgrounds and their families, explaining why they’re hurting.
Sometimes I am needed for the same kid and the same issue over and over again. Sometimes I have kids who struggle with feeling like they don't belong, and that pain builds up and turns into meltdowns and angry fits. Sometimes I find myself chasing after kids who are absolutely uncontrollable. Sometimes I try to connect with rougher kids trying to start drama, who dislike the others in their cabin just because they’re different.
And through it all, my heart and my entire being have become overwhelmed with a love and a compassion that literally aches. My heart has broken and my mind has panicked over and over as I realized I can't fix these kids’ lives and all of their pain, as I tried to handle issue after issue. And the Lord opened my eyes to His deep love that is so steadfast and unconditional.
See, what’s interesting about it all is that we as believers struggle with the exact same issues and hurts. He patiently loves us and teaches us hard lessons over and over, even when we disobey and struggle with the same issue over and over. God gracefully and gently loves and pursues us even when we run away from Him.
God knows that we belong to Him alone, and not to this world, but we complain and whine when we don’t feel included and can’t find our place. God places us in situations that stretch us as we learn to accept and love others who are different, even when we are hardhearted and seek comfortable circles of friends, instead.
We are not much different from these precious, vulnerable, and aching children. And the deep love that we feel for these kids as we lead and go into ministry is only a small picture and reflection of God’s deep and unconditional love for every one of His children.
Let’s not take that for granted, but as believers, let us accept that love daily, be made whole in it, and be compelled to love others fully.
Remind someone how much God's loves him or her with this downloadable greeting card.