Camp, conference and retreat experiences with God grow us, but coming home is hard. Remember my stories from camp?
I drive the three hour drive from camp praying with a carload of boys praying to just.remember.this.moment.
Tired. Dusty. Hungry. With no evening camp service. I pull into my driveway at 9 pm.
I drag suitcases out of my car, silently cursing the dust. And the ants. And the laundry. And the TV droning inside my house. I load soggy, dirty and muddy into the washer.
My mind forms the dreaded list. I label it: Catching Up After Camp. Even though I know the task impossible. It’s not the catching up I dread, it’s the coming back. After chasing God down a dusty, trail far away from my piles of dishes and laundry and bills, life just changes.
I can’t go back to where I came from because I am no longer who I used to be. The life I led is not the life I want to lead.
Can a new lifestyle converge with the old life? How does a changed person relate to the familiar? Does a new person simply pick up where the old left off?
My drive home that Friday is much like Moses’ walk down Mount Sinai with the Ten Commandments.
Moses walks carefully, slowly, one secure step after another down the mountain carrying precious message-bearing stone close to his heart.
Pondering whispered words, reflecting on heart changes and anticipating life reform, I drive.
I see Moses walking, envisioning the moment he shares the words written by the finger of God with the people of God. He lets His mind wander to God’s last command, “Quick! Go down the mountain! Your people whom you brought from the land of Egypt have corrupted themselves.” (Exodus 32:7)
He imagines their response as he traces the finger of God for them. His mind pictures them watching the cloud, seeing the fire, sensing His presence.
Moses steps off the mountain.
The people are worshipping a golden calf because they had only seen the cloud, the fire and His presence from afar. Only Moses had held the words, a personal message written by God. The people hadn’t touched the tablets. They hadn’t felt the engravings. Impatience, boredom, tiredness steal the anticipation of waiting for Moses’ appearance.
Living in the minute, worshipping something instead of The One, the people sin. Moses doesn’t pause to think about their struggles, to consider the many weeks of his absence, to exercise compassion for the lost. He forgets God said it was happening. Anger courses through Moses at the sight of disregard for the God he had just encountered.
Moses throws down the tablets breaking them at the foot of the mountain. He throws down the words God spoke. Moses breaks the tablets in response to the chaos of a golden calf in the middle of God’s forgetful people. Even though, God instructs Moses to expect sin and accepts his pleas to save them, Moses still breaks the tablets containing the message people so desperately needed.
In his anger.
And I do this.
I did this:
Barely out of the car, anger surfaces at the sight of the sameness around me. I throw down words God spoke. Break my fragile heart. Slam engraved words from the finger of God into the ground.
The chaos I come home to breaks my heart and demolishes my message.
Today Moses leads me. I turn around, head back to the place God spoke. I climb slowly; I am tired. I just got off this mountain. I walk reverently; I know the truth: I am guilty too. I forget. I react. I hesitate.
I see Moses sweeping pieces of stone into a pouch. I carry my own heart rubble.
And yet I skip a step or two. I know God meets Moses again. God does more than mend the tablets. He never asks Moses to decipher words on cracked stone. God gives Moses new tablets—after He revealed His glory.
God reveals Himself to Moses before instructing him. He gives His presence before providing directions to create new tablets. The work is not easy; smoothing stones into a writable surface never is. But it allows the message to be carried to forgetful people again.
It takes hard work to turn a hard heart into a powerful message.
You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. 2 Corinthians 3:3
I am willing to do the work. Are you?
Today I am hosting a giveaway at my place to help smooth rough hearts into writable surfaces.
SDG Gathering Important Information
Lisa Smith is helping me facilitate our gatherings each week. She is visiting those of you who link up on “even” numbers and I am visiting the “odd” (don’t worry, I’m not calling YOU odd). She will also be sharing on Mondays with you from time to time, opening up her heart and life to you, as you faithful do with us each week you link up. We do have some important housekeeping items about this gathering, so if you have not read them, please come here to catch up. The condensed version: Link up ONE post that shares your heart authentically and be sure to check in with some of your sisters who have linked up with you. Leave a heartfelt word of encouragement for them after you visit their space. This is a community where we actively seek to get to know each other.