“Hey, Babe, take a look at your new camping stove,” Danny said. “It’s the latest model.”
“I’m sorry, Danny,” but this year I’m just not going with you.”
When Bethanne saw the new Coleman stove that her husband had brought home she stood her ground. It was early May, but she knew it was only three months until the annual youth group camping trip.
“Well, all right, Babe, I can’t force you.” Danny said, with disappointment registered in his soft brown eyes.
Bethanne loved her husband, dearly, but hated camping. When she was a little girl her father dragged her on all his camping escapades. Now she’d married a man even more addicted to camping than her father.
“You know I support you in all you do.” She continued, defending her decision. “But you’re the youth director, and I’m not. I have my hands full teaching Sunday school to third graders. You know that I’m much better with children than teens.”
“Yeah, I know,” Danny said. “Look, I have a youth board meeting, so I’ve got to go now. See you later.”
She knew he was hurt and that he wanted to leave early to avoid an argument. He didn’t even kiss her good-bye.
Feeling selfish, Bethanne asked the Lord to show her if she was wrong. But for now, she was tired. She’d worked all morning at the library and was also trying to prepare tomorrow’s Sunday school lesson.
She left her Bible open on the coffee table where she’d been studying the Gospel of St. John and laid down on the couch. Minutes later, the thirty-three year old suburban homemaker was in a different time and place.
She was a little girl, again, about nine years old, standing in a mob of pushing people. Just as all the other little girls and women, she was dressed in a full-length garment with a white scarf around her head, and wore soft sandals. Everyone around her was energized, waiting for the red-robed man standing on the hill to call up the next sick person.
He stroked his beard and pointed to a child about her age. A mother picked up her daughter and ran up to the red-robed man. When he laid his hands on her paralyzed legs; she stood up and ran in circles. Tears of joy, streamed down her face and the crowd stood in holy awe watching her.
Then an old man with a cane walked up to the red-robed man. After the red-robed man touched his lips and frail legs, the old man ran back to the crowd, screaming, I can talk…I can run! It’s a miracle!
The crowd raised their hands and applauded. Then everyone grew still as the red-robed young man on the hill motioned them to be quiet. He opened his mouth and spoke for hours about things she’s heard before.
When the sun went down the red-robed man walked away into the woods into a tent and the crowd left. Everyone returned to their tents. At her tent, she helped her father look for wood to start a fire. Suddenly, she was startled by what sounded like a loud barking dog.
Her eyes popped open wide and she reentered the 21st century, greeted with wet sloppy kisses from her hungry boxer, Penny. Realizing she had met Jesus on the hillside, healing the sick and preaching to the crowds, she was still puzzled, thinking, what did it all mean?
Then her eyes fell on her open Bible.
Staring at 1 John 1:14, she saw these words jump off the page.
“4And the Word (Christ) became flesh (human, incarnate) and tabernacled (fixed His tent of flesh, lived awhile) among us)” (Amplified Bible)
“OK, Lord, I get it.” She exclaimed, so loudly that even the dog, jumped backwards. Jesus pitched his tent among us. He didn’t even have an earthly home.
She quietly bowed her head and confessed,
“Jesus, if you could leave the comforts of your home in heaven and come down here and camp for 33 years, then I can go camping with teenagers for three days. Please forgive me for being so self-centered.”
She reexamined her new Coleman stove. This will do just fine, she thought, circling the kitchen wall calendar for August 8th, the youth group camping trip.
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