I had agreed to take a week of vacation to go with 29 youths to camp near Lufkin.
My new friend, Michael (33)and I (70) were to be the leaders of the 18 boys, and we all stayed in the same cabin. One bunk short, Michael, ex Air Force, agreed to use the cot, placing it by the door that exited the cabin.
“Just in case someone wants to run,” he said.
For me, it had been 12 years since I had taken kids to summer camp. Wendy and I had run the Junior High program at our church, and took this group to camp four years in a row.
There seems to be a lot of difference between 58 and 70.
Michael established himself rather quickly as the father figure in the cabin, ping ponging between enforcer and encourager.
That left me the role of Grandpa.
I had been the Father figure in years past.
I liked being Grandpa.
The roles worked well through the week, even in our times with the entire group of 29, boys and girls, as we shared from our life experiences.
Now, here is the quandary that I faced.
I have maintained the idea that I am younger than my years, and able to do physical exploits that most my age wouldn’t attempt.
Wendy had threatened me, “Do not do anything stupid! Do not hurt yourself!” She told Michael,”Don’t let Randy do anything stupid! Don’t let him hurt himself.”
So I took it easy on the physical stuff, even waiting til the last day to test my ping pong skills, when I took on the winner of a match.
In retrospect, I probably should have taken on the loser.
In our cabin, as you came in the door from outside, there was a wall with a mirror. Michael’s cot was to the right.
Whenever I would talk to him in that location, I would see in the mirror his 6 foot something youth and strength, next to my 5’6″ image of my dad. (Who was actually 5’9″)
After being trounced in the ping pong match, I just found myself feeling beaten down, and old.
Now, the boys who had come to my area of the cabin to hear my stories during the week, had called my section “the therapy room.”
After the week of camp, I had told Michael of my struggle of feeling old and beaten down. I asked for his prayers because I did not want my age to ever be the focus of my thoughts. “We were obedient to the LORD last week. I want my obedience to Him to be above all else,” I told him.
His response: “I would focus on your age, and how, in this stage of your life, you can serve Him. Example: the boys had a reverence for you because of your age.”
Simple words, that immediately lifted my spirit.
The LORD says, “Now, you are ready to exchange your weakness for My strength.
I still have many battles for you to fight, and My Life that you carry will be the only strength you will need. Trust Me with everything. Don’t try to figure everything out.
Let Me lead you. Trust Me, obey Me, and Joy will follow you. Do not be afraid, for I am with you. I will strengthen you. I will hold you. You will accomplish what I have for you to do. Listen for My voice. Watch for My leading. I AM always there.”
Where you lead me,
I will follow.