This week I took my five youngest children camping with my friend, Darlene, and her three youngest. They all ranged in age from 14 down to 5. Camping is fun from start to finish. In other words, I even enjoy the preparations. Making sure we have remembered everything from clothes to flashlights to activities for the children in case of rain is challenging and satisfying. Of course, I took my laptop to work on my History assignment, so I had to remember my notes, my binders, and so on. The only thing we forgot was salt and pepper!
We had terrific campsites right next to each other, and close to the bathroom, which was a bonus. We even had a huge rock that the boys used for splitting logs on.
Cooking was a piece of cake on Darlene's propane stove, and we even cooked our steak one night over coals from a good fire we had built earlier.
We had to take the kids to the beach, which was some distance away, but while there, the boys built "Rome", complete with a colliseum, an arena, the forum, and a temple. They had villas outside the city, and fields with harvest vegetables growing. All of this set off "castle wars", and up and down the beach other children did their best to make cool castles!
One of the highlights of our camping experience was an altercation with some bullies. Our four girls (11 - 8) and little Christopher (5) went to play on the equipment in the park, not far from our campsite. Some bullies were spitting on the slide, then challenging other children to slide in the mess. Tiana, only 8, spoke up and told them they weren't very nice. They responded with the typical, "Oh, yeah? What are you going to do about it?" Elena, 9, and a little spitfire, warned them that they would be sorry when her big brothers got there, because "they have muscles the size of WATERMELONS!" Tiana, meanwhile, marched into the camp store and told the clerk what was going on, and she came out to confront the bullies, who denied everything.
Just then, my two oldest sons showed up. When Elena was threatening that her brothers had muscles the size of watermelons, she was thinking about Dan and Pat, who are 14 and 12, and very muscular for their ages. But when her two BIG brothers showed up, it was wonderful to see the reaction. Matt is a bricklayer and packed with muscles, standing 6 foot tall, and sporting a beard. Jared is naturally huge, standing 6 foot 7 and weighing 350 lbs! When the bullies saw these guys drive up and get out and greet the kids, they whispered to one another, then took off running!!! None of our kids had any trouble after that. It sure pays to have the big guys on your side!
Which got me to thinking: I was studying the life of Jonathan Edwards today. Jonathan was an incredible man, brilliant, articulate, and filled with wisdom and discernment. God used him to begin the Great Awakening and touch the lives of hundreds, even thousands of people in New England. His writing impacted the English Baptists in Britain and helped them in their preaching and teaching.
Yet this giant of a man was bullied by those in his congregation that he ministered to for many years. Out of more than 200 men in his congregation, only 26 stood with him when it came to a vote on the issue of whether the Lord's supper should be withheld from those who had not professed a saving knowledge and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
The bullies got rid of him: but he had the Big Guy on his side. I am not being blasphemous here; I am simply saying that if God is for us, who can be against us? It was when Jonathan Edwards moved from Northhampton to Stockbridge, to minister in a little mission to the Indians, that he found the time to write some of his best books.
God is on our side. He is in complete control. What looks like setbacks may be opportunities for something better, for a greater work, a magnum opus. When things are pressing hard against us, and the bullies look like they might win, we need to remember that our God has muscles "the size of WATERMELONS!" In this we can rejoice!
Lord, thank You that You continually teach me to trust You more. Thank you for using my little daughter's brave words to remind me that I have nothing to fear, no matter what comes my way. You are always in control, and nobody can touch one hair on my head without Your permission. The trials You send my way are for my good, and for Your glory. In this I do rejoice. Amen.