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Hello everyone! What are some of your favorite things to do on Sabbath? I like to watch nature shows, listen to music, and read! :)

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Grace in the Storm




by Katie Turk



 

 

 Grace in the Storm

He lifted the kayak off his truck and set it on the ground. Heaving an exhausted sigh, he sat down on the campsite’s picnic table. The drive from Nashville had been long, full of crawling traffic and dashing thoughts. To make matters worse, the campground where he had intended to stay was so neglected and filthy that he cancelled his reservation. 

Now, he was here: Gee Creek. The campground was small and in the middle of nowhere Tennessee, but it was next to the Hiwassee River and was convenient for kayaking—the reason he came.

Is that really why I’m here? To kayak? He sighed again. No. He had come to escape. Escape the feeling that followed him wherever he went. It had hung heavy in the car on the way from Nashville. It couldn’t be God, could it? What could God want with me? 

A clap of distant thunder interrupted his thoughts. Looking up, he saw heavy, black clouds tumbling toward the campground. A gust of wind rustled through the trees, carrying with it the scent of rain. Standing, he opened the door of his truck and pulled his tent from the back seat. He hoped he could set the tent up before the rain overtook Gee Creek.

********************

Crash! I sat up straight in my sleeping bag, gasping. A flash of lightning blinded me as I struggled to remember where I was. Gee Creek, on a Pathfinder campout. The ground shook with thunder, and my hands shot to my ears.

“Everybody get out of your tents, now!” our Pathfinder leader shouted at us through the pelting rain. 

My tentmates and I scrambled to get out of our sleeping bags and find our shoes. I pulled an oversized poncho over my head and grabbed my flashlight. Unzipping the rain fly, we stepped outside. Clicking on my flashlight, I aimed it toward the center of camp. The rain had formed a small river which flowed through our campsites, flooding the nearby area. Pathfinders stumbled out of waterlogged tents, lugging dripping sleeping bags and pillows.

“Where are we going?” I shouted to my counselor as she walked by.

“To the bathrooms,” she called back. “There’s shelter there.”

We turned toward the bathrooms and began wading through the ankle-deep mud. Buckets of water fell from the sky, and soon every part of me unprotected by the poncho was drenched.

After sloshing through endless mud puddles and becoming thoroughly soaked, we reached the bathrooms. Huddled together, we stood under the slanted roof shivering and fighting heavy eyelids. Determined to improve our situation, we started to sing.

********************

He pulled the curtain closed and turned on the shower. The warm water washed away a bit of the tension that had built up over the past few weeks. Now he had time to think. Instead of happy thoughts of kayaking, thoughts he didn’t want to think filled his mind. He hadn’t come here to kayak. He’d run here. Run from God. 

He shook his head and wiped water from his eyes. He used to be involved in church. But years had passed. Why did these thoughts come up now? He had left the church a long time ago. He wanted nothing to do with the church—or God. 

But I felt Him. That’s why I’m here. God wants back into my life, and . . . No, no, no! How could a myth want me? Despite his doubt, he shook his fist at the rafters. How could You want me? You don’t even exist! And even if You did, I turned away from You. You can’t reach me here. I’ve run too far for . . . Wait, what’s that?

“Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now am found. Was blind, but now I see.”

Despite the warm water, he began to tremble. Blindly, he turned the water off and fumbled with his towel. After hurriedly drying himself, he clumsily pulled on his clothes and stumbled out of the bathroom into the rainy night.

********************

As the last notes of our song faded into the darkness, I turned to see a man swaying in the bathroom doorway. Tears streamed down his pale face as he watched us.

“Who are you people?” With that, the whole story came pouring out—how he left the church, ran from God, and ended up in the Gee Creek bathrooms at the same moment we began singing. 

“I’m going to find my pastor when I get back,” he promised as he gripped my Pathfinder director’s arm.

When the rain subsided, we headed back to camp. I shook my head in wonder at what had just happened. Our camp had flooded, forcing us to escape to the bathrooms in the middle of the night. Everything went wrong—to us. But that night, God had a purpose for every drop of rain. That cold, rainy night will forever remind me that no matter the situation, God can use me to touch lives for Him. Even though I never saw that man again, I know that “because we are united with Christ, we have received an inheritance from God, for he chose us in advance, and he makes everything work out according to his plan” (Ephesians 1:11, NLT).* Even if you believe God doesn’t want you or can’t reach you, remember, no matter how worthless you feel or how far you’ve gone, He still pursues you—even to the bathrooms of a flooded campground. 

* Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Katie Turk is a language arts major at Union College in Lincoln, Nebraska. 





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