What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us. ~A.W. Tozer
During my college summers, I worked at a day camp in Tulsa. While it was considered a “Christian” camp, it was mostly about enjoying the outdoors with activities like canoeing, archery, nature hikes and a ropes course.
We generally had a lot of return campers from year to year – some even came multiple weeks throughout the summer. Two such kids were twin brothers, Tim and Jordan. They came to the camp from age 5 until age 13. Each summer. For at least 5 of the 8 weeks. For my last 2 years there, I was there counselor nearly every week.
We all knew them. Knew their story. Of how their dad died when they were very young. Abandoned. Left alone. Their camp counselors being the only picture of male consistency in their lives.
Of course I didn’t think about that then. I just saw them as two boys that I could try to make a good impression on. Be the “cool” camp counselor. Little did I know of their hurt.
It came out in bits and pieces. Somebody would say the word “dad” and the expression on the twins’ faces would change. Quickly, the conversation would move to a different subject. Of course I didn’t recognize it at the time.
It has been said that God created man in his image, and man returned the favor.
Looking back, it’s obvious how the twins felt about God. Replaying conversations in my mind I see them speak of Him as if he were a distant relative, a pen pal from a foreign country, the friend from 1st grade that moved away.
Never were words like near, friend, counselor used. Never was God referred to as Father.
Now the twins have graduated high school. They play in rock bands, are covered with tattoos and based on limited Facebook updates, are broken. One of them posted a video last week playing guitar in what appeared to be his garage.
I didn’t see the happy, out-going, full of life boy that I used to see each summer. I saw a boy that is searching, confused, without any direction. And without any man to teach him. And I wept.
Sitting at my desk over lunch, I wept.
At missed chances. At my ignorance. At my interest in being cool instead of doing my job as a counselor. At what should have been (and what still can be).
Then I prayed.
Because regardless of what they may or may not think about God, he is forever thinking of them. And he….is in stubborn and reckless pursuit of their hearts.