Once again, Camp Or L’Dor was over the top wonderful. In all the years that I have been involved (from the beginning), more teens were strengthened in their faith this year than in any other year. And this, despite all of the usual challenges we face.
At the healing prayer service during the second week, Rabbi Nathan asked anyone who felt he or she wanted to affirm, reaffirm, strengthen, or perhaps for the first time really accept Yeshua into their heart to step into the circle with him. He said it would be fine if he were alone (so as not to pressure the teens). Not only was he not alone, a mere handful remained outside and they too joined with the others in a welcoming embrace.
But the next night, the last Erev Shabbat of camp, I heard testimonies of teens now in relationship with Yeshua recognizing it is He who is their savior. Stories of such struggles now ending in such great hope.
I left camp with my usual extreme exhaustion and elation but was soon confronted by one stress and challenge after another. As each day went on after camp, instead of feeling the joy I should have, I instead was being dragged down by stressors which only served to further feed my exhaustion. Not to mention Sid and I are trekking back via our RV on the 20-plus hour drive.
Only to pull into the rest stop today next to a semi with “Operation Blessing” emblazoned on its side. . .
There was HaShem reaching out to me to take a giant step back. Just as that trucker was delivering food to the needy, overcoming hours of driving and exhaustion, we, too, blessed these young people, and nothing can or should rob us of that joy.
Life presents challenges. But the key is to not let them be detractors to all that you do to bless others. Especially as fatigue enters the scene, we can so easily fall victim to being robbed of how wonderful it feels to serve another, our vulnerability increased as night falls and we become even more tired.
As you celebrate the joy of giving to others this week, be vigilant against the detractors and distractions, strengthened by your focus on Him and get good rest too. The robber not only steals our thoughts and feelings but our sleep as well! How blessed to be reminded that through our awareness and the choices we make to deal with adversity, he doesn’t have a chance!
P.S. I was in my camp bubble for much of this week and we are still not back yet. However, I have heard about the events at Charlottesville, VA and have now seen a horrific film on it which some of you may have seen as well. The interviews of the alt-right organizers are beyond shocking.
As I processed this with my son last evening, I shared with him that it is at times like this that we need to draw even closer to God. Events such as this are not bearable without faith in Him. The ability of the wrong choices of factions of society to rob mankind of joy is obviously possible. It is time for intense prayer and proper responses, from the leadership down. We are not in this alone, but we must be willing to listen to Him.
I urge you to try harder than ever to not let some of the smaller stresses sap the energy we need to literally fight the bigger battles so sadly evidenced in Charlottesville, Barcelona, and future Charlottesvilles. The more we succumb to sinful choices that divide us, the less we will be able to fight the larger battles against the robbers united in hate, not love. Stay strong as brothers and sisters united in Him as we walk through this painful chapter.