There is a little white chapel on the grounds of a beloved church camp. It rests near the road with a line of trees protecting it from the infrequent traffic of a nearby highway. Windows line the sides, and a large window reaches across the front.
I love that little white chapel. It’s heard a lot of inspiring sermons and music; seen hand-holding, laughter, and tears; and witnessed quiet prayers when no one was there but the one praying. I’ll bet I’m not the only one who’s done that.
Pine Haven Christian Assembly’s 75th Anniversary Celebration was held just this past weekend. We had more people than that little chapel could hold. We’d planned for an all-out rip the seams kind of Saturday with activities of all kinds and a hog roast and an outdoor service. People had come from all over the place. They were returning to a camp that had touched them and made an impact on their lives.
Saturday morning I walked past the flatbed in place for our outdoor service. I walked past the folks who’d risen in the early hours to put tents up for our 7:00 service that evening. And I walked over to the camp manager who told me there was a 100% chance of rain at 6:00 p.m. Sure enough. I could see that red storm cell headed straight for us. We were given the terms. Not 90%. Not 99%. One hundred percent doesn’t leave much wiggle room; but you know and I know that plan B is never as good as plan A.
Don’t you just love a challenge? I told the campers about the forecast and asked them to pray. And they did. It’s what Christians do. I don’t know what they prayed, but I’ll tell you a little about my prayers. I reminded God about His parting the Red Sea and the Jordan and all those things He’s done – big ones that everybody knows about and small ones that hardly anybody knows about. I asked Him for a favor. I told Him we’d go with what He preferred, but I preferred plan A, and if He’d be willing, we’d love it if He’d help us out and hold back the rain. Please. Please, please. I reminisced with Him about the time when there was a drought and He sent a gully washer because Elijah asked Him to. I reminded Him about how He loved this place. I suggested it could rain on the town, it could rain on the nearby cabins, it could rain everyplace else but this spot. Please just pass over this place. He knows something about Passovers, after all.
That afternoon the manager showed something to me on her very spiffy phone. The storm cell was splitting in two and going above and below our little camp. After we both stared at it, I commented, “Asked and answered” and she, being a woman of faith, agreed. And then the first raindrop fell. Really??!!!
But God was just having a little fun, a little teasing, a little question – even in the face of appearances to the contrary, do you still believe?
The rain stayed long enough for the baseball game hold-outs to get soaked, though I don’t know if they used a PA system to announce the game or had the Caribou mascot or drone for a “fly over” or bat spin race between innings or raffle or softball bingo (I did say rip the seams kind of plans, remember?) . . . The rain stayed long enough that we didn’t get to do wall-climbing or some of the other afternoon activities. But everyone did get in some really great re-connecting and visiting. And then, oh yes, then. Then. It. Stopped.