Sometimes, a little fear can wind up being a lot of fun—instructive, too.
Jean and I took the boys camping last week up to beautiful Mueller State Park, a picturesque spot located just outside the town of Woodland Park, Colorado.
Our site was perfectly situated; a cozy corner of land nestled among towering pines and an Aspen tree grove. It was great not to have the pressure of keeping a schedule. To borrow a phrase, we had “gone dark” once arriving in the park. Surrounded by mountains, there was no cell phone coverage or internet access. It was glorious! Only my assistant knew our campsite number and in the event of an emergency, she would have contacted the park ranger to deliver the message.
The days were filled with simple pleasures. Trent and Troy enjoyed riding their bikes along the campsite roads, dashing over the speed bumps, racing from point to point. Jean and I read, talked, laughed and even caught up on unfinished and/or interrupted conversations from weeks earlier. We all played ‘Junior Scrabble’ each night after dinner. There was also plenty of time to throw around the baseball and football.
Early mornings and late evenings found the boys by my side, helping with the campfire, future Eagle Scouts, to be sure. Of course, no day was complete without making some S’mores, though Troy can’t break the habit of calling them “Smoes.”
There was really only one ‘blip’ throughout our entire stay. Colorado weather has been unusually stormy this summer with hail, wind and torrential downpours becoming the daily norm. Incidentally, a fresh blanket of snow was even spotted on the summit of Pikes Peak the other afternoon. If you’re coming our way to visit, better be prepared for anything.
On the second night inside the park, one storm was particularly wild. The loud thunder was rolling incessantly with the lightening hitting all around us, in fact, literally nearly directly on top of us. There was almost no time between the ‘flash’ and the rattle. That’s how close it was. It felt like we were under direct assault!
I’m not normally the nervous type; I don’t usually worry about things outside my control. But here we were inside our little camper with canvas pop out beds and feeling a bit exposed and vulnerable. Jean and I began looking at each other with that subtle gaze of concern. We didn’t want to show our worry, were trying to stay upbeat and positive, especially since Troy was visibly bothered by the non-stop barrage. While his brother Trent was pressed toward the glass, looking to see the danger up close and personal, Troy had his fingers in his ears humming sweet songs to himself! He must have done this for nearly 45 minutes until the storm finally abated.
It’s all a memory now, a night we’ll talk about and remember for years to come. For Troy, it wasn’t all fun while it was happening, but it’s exciting to have faced your fears and come out on the other side, little worse for the wear.
In thinking about this little adventure, I’m reminded about the moment so vividly recalled in Mark’s gospel. As you’ll recall, Jesus was out fishing with his disciples when He retreated inside the boat to get some rest. While Jesus slept, a huge storm rolled in and his followers grew fearful and restless. In the midst of the turmoil, they woke Him up and asked a question that’s actually quite funny, at least in retrospect:
“Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” [Mark 4:38]
Here they were with the Savior of the world, and they still worried something might happen to them, unless they took personal control of the situation. Here is how the passage concludes:
He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!” [Mark 4:39-41]
What a mighty God we have, an awesome God, Who is everywhere and in control of every detail. He was even aware, and cared, about a little family huddled inside a camper in a remote corner of Colorado.
Maybe Troy was onto something; perhaps we’d be wise to hum and pray—instead of fret and worry—the next time the storms come our way.