Until now you have asked for nothing in My name; ask, and you will receive that your joy may be made full.” John 16:24 (NASB)
Summer camp. What does that conjure up in your mind? Silly or scary teen movies perhaps? Camp food, s’mores and singing Kumbaya by the campfire, hiking, canoeing, team games and sunburned faces were all a part of my experience. No, I didn’t meet my twin like Haley Mills (or Lindsey Lohan) in The Parent Trap. Who I did meet and what He would do for me would change my life forever and ever.
Each year our church youth group went to the Baptist camp at Big Bear in the San Bernardino mountains. It is about a 2 hour drive from my home in San Diego. Because it was so expensive, I was not able to attend most years. Even with babysitting (.50 per hour) and my birthday money, the funds just weren’t there. In 1968 our church got a new youth pastor who was all about fundraising. Well, he was speaking my language! I had puposed in my mind and heart that I was going to camp that summer. Every year the kids would come back closer than ever and so full of Jesus’ Spirit that I wanted to experience it for myself.
I saved every dime that year. Informing my youth pastor of my strong desire, he put me to work. Babysitting was my specialty but I also signed up to rake leaves, clean houses, wash windows, iron clothes (yes, I said iron), fold laundry and actually do any chores offered. The folks of First Baptist La Mesa were generous with payment and I made enough to go to camp and have camp store spending money. Pumped? Yes I was! My bags were packed way early. The morning we were to leave butterflies were running amuck in my stomach. A kind lady from the church picked me up and gave me a ride to the bus. Off we went. I was ready for fun, bible teaching and learning about Jesus in a different setting. Believe me, the experience did not disappoint.
The week was filled with morning group meetings, individual quiet times (new lingo for me but I learned), team games and just about everything I dreamed camp would be. Our cabin counselor was a college student and summer missionary. She taught us to consider our relationship with Christ and drew us to His word. It was the afternoon and evening teachings that changed me. One of the speakers that year was John MacArthur. He taught from John 16 and from Matthew 6. I learned to be anxious for nothing, to give thanks for everything, that God would provide, He loved me more than anything and that my Heavenly Father could be totally and completely trusted to provide always. I went home on a mountaintop joyful high!
I got a ride home since my mom forgot to pick me up but, that did not burst my bubble. When I walked in the door she didn’t say hello or even that she missed me but she did say, “Terrie Lynn tomorrow our electricity will be turned off, our water too and make any phone calls because that will go next. Your dad has not paid child support in months and there is no money.” I hugged my mom and told her not to cry, that God would take care of us. I firmly believed He would do a miracle. I asked how much money we needed and she told me $90.00 (might as well have been a million). I dropped my gear, went in to my bedroom, got on my knees and poured my newly regenerated heart out to God. I told Him we needed $90.00. I went out and told my very skeptical mom that God would pay those bills! Later that night, my Grandpa Smith called to see how camp was. I told him what I had learned and that we needed $90.00 to pay bills, and I knew with all my heart God would provide.
The next day my Grandpa paid all of those bills. He would never have known if he hadn’t called. My mom told me of his generous gift, and I hugged her so big. I remember standing in the hallway by my bedroom with tears streaming down my face telling my mom that I KNEW God would provide. He said He would and He did! My faith in God was huge. She shrugged it off as was her way, but I saw her wipe away a tear.
Grandpa had a ledger where he wrote down his expenses. He sold real estate and kept track of his newspaper ads. When he died in 2003, my sister and I helped clean out his house. She put a black trash bag full of papers and what I thought was trash in my trunk. After about a week, I opened the trunk and saw the bag. The ledger had made it’s way to the top with the corner sticking out from between the two yellow pull straps. I opened it and cried as I saw his meticulous record keeping in that unmistakably excellent penmanship. His death devastated me, so seeing this brought comfort to my broken heart. As I closed the ledger, I saw some writing on the inside cover “August 25, 1968 Gertie $84.36 paid SDG&E, water, telephone.”
He had written his account of paying those bills. My eyes instantly burned from tears as God sent a bolt of lightening through my heart. “Never forget my faithfulness”, I heard Him whisper. He gently reminded me of His faithfulness all of those years ago. Oh my goodness! Precious ones, God is faithful and can be trusted to always provide. He covers us with His wings. My faith, once again, was built as I was reminded and the 17 year old in me cried for joy once again. #whenyouwalkwiththewise