“When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?” [Psalm 8:3-4]
In a somewhat peculiar opportunity this January I was able to direct one of our January Vacation Camps, Camp Grace. It was a real breath of fresh air for this desk-bound communications director as I spent morning, noon and night updating attendance and registration lists, cutting out crafts, filling out evaluations, planning (and stressing over) budgets, and seemingly evading sleep. Through this experience, amidst the teenage drama, the childhood tantrums and the temperamental facilities of our campsite, I was overwhelmingly struck with just how much of a profound privilege it was to have been gifted with my particular 57+ kids, my unique team of 9 youth leaders, 4 leaders-in-training and 3 volunteers, and my inimitable Assistant Director.
We all have expectations as to how things will go and can often become disillusioned when our perfect imaginary picture is not incarnated before our eyes. It’s easy to allow these expectations to dictate our joy and anaesthetise our gratitude but when we see God as a good Father who gives good gifts to His children we can see that everything that comes our way in Christ is for God’s glory and our good, even if it’s hard, even if it causes our suffering, even if we don’t understand it; everything is a gift.
As Psalm 8 infers, it is an enormous privilege to even be included in God’s work of redemption on earth, to get a glimpse of His handiwork in the hearts and lives of those around us. We are dispensable and often get in the way, and yet God still chooses to use us, allows us to know Him, and lets us see change in ourselves and our neighbour. This is not reserved for the theologically adept, or the ‘professional’ Christians, but, rather, open to all who seek His face.
One of the biggest privileges of Camp Grace was a young guy named Isaiah. Having been a kid in our camps and then a leader, and then dropping out of our program, some gave up on him, though a few still saw his innate potential, and so did God. Last year Isaiah began going to church with a few friends from his outlying village and the transformation has been incredible - they even walk 30 mins to go to the 5am prayer meeting, putting me massively to shame! Isaiah was our Bible Class Assistant and being able to see him daily grow in maturity, develop in self-confidence, learn initiative, and flourish in service was incredibly humbling for me. Isaiah even won Leader of camp!
Who am I that God is mindful of me? Who am I that He allows me to glimpse His restoration in others? Who am I that He includes me in this work?
Jason Irwin - Director of Communications [and Director of Camp Grace, Vacation Camp 2017]