The kids had been waiting all week for this story. Anticipating it. Asking about it. Making predictions and whispering theories – What could be God’s Great Rescue Plan?
I had told them stories.
Stories of God.
Stories of creation.
Stories of people.
Stories of goodness.
Stories of brokenness.
Stories of fear.
Stories of love.
And they were waiting. Waiting for the story of redemption – God’s Great Rescue Plan. Thursday, I would tell them. I would tell the children of ForestView’s Zapped Camp about God’s Great Rescue Plan.
I had notes.
I had the Jesus Storybook Bible.
I had not one, but two demos.
I had practiced.
I had prayed.
But I was not prepared. I never am.
“They nailed his hands to the cross and He carried it. He Carried It… On His Back… to the place where He would die.”
The very words I spoke astounded me. My voice began to shake as I thought of the weight of this truth. Tears laced my eyes. I breathed deep, but I couldn’t stop the tears. My voice broke. The tears carved their paths down my cheek. I stopped. I breathed.
Every time I have shared this story with a crowd, I have become teary eyed. That being said, in all my mornings spent at summer camps retelling this story, I have never had to pause to compose myself – not once. I have never felt the weight of this story like I did last Thursday.
“These are happy tears.” I proclaimed.
I looked out into the crowd. Every child looked confused. My vision was blurred. I couldn’t read my notes, but I could see the questions in their eyes. Why are you happy if Jesus died? How is this a Great Rescue? Really – God left His son to die and you are happy? How does this help us?
I took a deep breath and I continued.
I told them the rest of the story.
I told them of Jesus’ cry to the Father.
I told them of His death.
I told them of the leaders’ satisfaction.
I told them of the cries of His people.
As I neared the end of the story, I asked: “And do you think Jesus stayed dead?”
A loud and thunderous “NO” roared through ForestView that Thursday morning. If you are ever doubting God’s presence, you should stand at the front of a room and ask a crowd of children that question. Your doubt will quickly fade because they will tell you…
That God is Alive.
That Jesus has conquered death.
That God’s love reigns.
We spent the rest of the day dreaming of Jesus. I wonder what Jesus looks like? Do you think he still has marks in His hands? I think He does.
I listened as they swapped stories of God moving in their lives. I wasn’t sure if God was real. I asked him for a sign. Guess what? At the end of my prayer, I heard footsteps outside my room. I called out to my mom and dad. No one answered. I knew it was Him!
I wondered alongside them as they asked tough questions. Does God love Satan? If we were made to take care of the world, what were angels made for? Why did God let Satan fall? Why did God let Eve eat the forbidden fruit? How come it’s so hard to trust God?
We dreamed of restoration. I can’t wait to see if we get new bodies! I heard Heaven is beautiful. I bet when Heaven meets earth we won’t be able to stop smiling. I can’t wait to see my grandpa & God at the same time. I can’t wait.
We spent time brainstorming ways to draw near to God. We listed them on the window:
Read the Bible.
Be in nature.
Talk with friends.
Talk with wise people.
And on and on the list went.
At the end of the week when all the campers left, I added one more item to the list: “Spend time with children” – story telling, dreaming, listening and imagining. I drew near to God at Zapped Camp.