Happy Monday, Swamp Blog readers! Just in case you haven't heard, Camp Swamp is on a mission to replace 172 well-worn cabin mattresses, and we are just shy of half way meeting our goal of $20,000! To read more about the campaign and check out the new environmentally friendly mattresses, click here and donate today!
This week, I would like to share with you guys something I've been pondering and focusing on these past couple months. I read this scripture at the beginning of the year, and despite its simplicity and familiarity, it honestly challenged me to my core:
"Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
Not deeply profound, just very cut and dry instructions from Paul. You'd think that it'd be easy to follow them. Well to be completely honest and open, when I read this a couple months ago, I did not find these words to be comforting or easy to follow. I actually got a little upset, haha! Because when faced with suffering and grief, as I struggle in anger and frustration in the midst of politics and social issues in our country, being joyful becomes a lot more difficult that it used to be. I thought that at this point, having patience is just a seemingly impossible aspiration, and feeling hopeful is a thing of the past. But as I thought about this scripture more, I realized these negative thoughts are not truths, but lies, results of not having trust in God.
Yes, there are some real issues going on right now, and yes, I am going to have emotions and feeling about them. But with a faith in God, and with a willingness to achieve progress, Romans 12:12 becomes a lot more realistic and relatable. In the past months, I've broken down this scripture down to the main ideas of JOY, HOPE, PATIENCE, SUFFERING and FAITH. One of the most important insights I've gained in doing so is that all these concepts are interconnected by one common entity, God.
We discover true joy out of suffering and in the presence of God (Psalm 16:11, Isaiah 35). We practice hope by waiting on and rejoicing in God (Psalm 17:6, 2 Cor. 4:13-18). We learn patience and compassion by remembering the immense and vast love of God (Luke 15:11-24, 1 Cor. 13:4). For me, it's a matter of shifting my perspective. It's not about my emotions towards things, it's not about my own ability or comfort or expectations. God is who will guide us in love and righteousness through this battle of life. We can live out Romans 12:12 by denying ourselves and keeping God in the forefront of everything we do. This is something I need to remind myself now more than ever. It also reminds me I need to a buy a t-shirt like this guy:
It is my hope and prayer that in sharing these thoughts that I can inspire you guys to challenge yourselves, to look for truth in God's way and not your own, and that we can practice sharing and inspiring one another towards greatness!
Thanks for reading! Remember to sign up for the upcoming Mother Son and Daddy Daughter Retreats, click here for dates and registrations. And of course remember to sign up for your camp sessions by clicking here, there's still availability in all seven weeks of camp as well Family Camp!
Until next week,
Dec. 29-Jan. 1
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