OnFire Encouragement Letter
OnFire #194 Feeling a Little Unglued
I’m beginning to realize that the start of summer will mean OnFire will be a little spotty for the next few months. Last week I was in Halifax on Thursday, when I would normally write. This week is abnormal, again, with Canada Day in the middle and two weddings to perform. Next week ought to be relatively normal, except that we’re getting ready for vacation Bible school, and then we’ll be part of our Convention’s youth mission called Tidal Impact ( http://www.baptist-atlantic.ca/tidalimpact) After that we’ll be on vacation for three weeks.
I find that summer is a good time to reconnect with God. In some ways I find I have to be more intentional about things like Bible reading since my routine changes, but in other ways it is a spiritually refreshing time.
For instance, I often wake early and get up to read, pray, or write. While on vacation, I’ll go out in the canoe, taking the time to pray and sit quietly, something which is difficult in my normal routine. It feels good simply to sit in God’s presence, talk to Him, and enjoy His creation.
I always make sure we attend church when we are away. This goes back to a time about 10 years ago when we were travelling in Pennsylvania and I decided we should put some miles behind us rather than attend worship somewhere. At noon we pulled into a parking lot and as we got out of the car I looked up at a truck driver reading in the cab of his rig. This was really odd, since drivers are paid to drive and not to sit. I arranged my path to the restaurant so that I could see what he was reading and was surprised to see it was a Gideon New Testament.
His window was down and so I called up to him, excusing myself by saying that I couldn’t help noticing he was a reading a Bible. “Yes,” he said. “I became a Christian a few years ago, but I’m usually on the road on Sundays, so at 11am, I pull over and read my Bible, and pray and worship.” We chatted for a short time, and then I left feeling completely convicted about being away from worship that day. We could easily have found a church to attend.
Since then we make it a point always to attend worship on vacation. When we must travel on Sundays, we arrange to attend an early worship service or we find a church at which we can stop along the way. I know some pastors and people who consider it “time off” but I enjoy worshipping somewhere else. Sometimes we learn new songs we can bring back. Its neat to hear another preacher, and we meet people. I would encourage you to attend worship even on vacation.
This summer is already different from any other summer I’ve experienced. Ian, our 15-year-old, is working at a Christian camp and has been away for more than a week. This is the longest stretch that he has been away from us and not been with family, and, to be honest, it has made me feel a little unglued. That’s my best description for the feeling I’ve experienced. Kind of like one of the kitchen chairs when it starts to loosen up and needs a little glue. Its still together but it feels a little shaky and uncertain.
The problem is not being at camp. For those who know it, Camp Wildwood ( http://www.campwildwood.ca/ ) is a great spot and I worked there myself as a lifeguard 20 years ago. The director is still the same and I did two bike camps for the assistant director when he worked at another camp. We know the place and people well.
The problem is missing Ian, feeling like a part of me is missing and being a little unsettled because of it. As my mother reads this, she will see the irony. She cried as she left me at Christian college, while I was happy to be on my own and meeting new people. Ian is having a blast, learning lots, and that’s the way it should be, but even still I was not prepared for how much I would miss him.
Ian’s nickname at camp is “Winchester,” since he loves guns and hunting. We went out for a barbeque on the weekend and I presented him with a key chain I made from a Winchester 30/30 bullet casing and the end of a 12 gauge shotgun shell. It was a way to show him I miss him but support him.
I find myself praying for the boys a lot more often. There are things beyond my control, especially when they are not with us. I am finding it takes a different level of trust to know that their Heavenly Father is watching over them when I am not there to protect them.
I’m not sure how my feeling a little unglued is supposed to help, but my approach with OnFire has always been a kind of “C’mon, we can do this together.” And so I offer up this week’s letter to say that feeling a little unglued hasn’t been a bad thing. Its not always comfortable, but its not been bad, and, in fact, is teaching me a reliance on God I didn’t even know I needed.
I hope this helps. Be on fire.
OnFire is a weekly letter on faith and character by Troy Dennis. Troy is the Pastor of Family Ministries at Highfield Baptist Church, Moncton NB Canada. This letter published June 29, 2009. To subscribe or reply, email firstname.lastname@example.org Archives are located www.onfireletter.com. Blog at http://onfireletter.blogspot.com