Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Guest Blog by Samantha Thorson

If you read Never Underestimate Jesus, you learned about a very special answer to prayer in our lives.  You are in for a treat in meeting this amazing young woman of God.  Samantha is a program intern at a Christian camp on the Oregon coast.  She is also my niece and one of my great joys.  Today I have the honor of having her as a guest on 'Til Dawn Comes.  I'm sure you'll be refreshed and blessed by her honesty and faith.

Faithful, Faithful God

Good evening, dear souls about to read these words.  I want to invite you into my life as it is right now, I hope that's okay.  My dearest auntie Pam asked me to write something for her blog, and I wanted to write something personal.  Thus, I invite you to brew some tea, get cozy in your chair, and enter my world and my thoughts for a few moments.

It is a quiet evening here in my home.  A candle is burning - the aroma of mangoes and papaya swim around my nose.  My living room is lit with a few lamps setting a cozy mood.  I can barely hear the wind blowing, the sound of the ocean is a dull, distant roar; perhaps the loudest thing is the clacking of my laptop's keys as my fingers type out my thoughts.  This day and the majority of the previous four days have all been very quiet.  I became quite sick Tuesday night, and now this day being Saturday, I am only now on the road to recovery.  In more ways than one these have been long, monotonous days spent horizontal in bed.  When I am honest, it is perhaps my soul that has needed this pit stop on my journey even more than my body (rest assured, my body also needed it.)

You have the setting, now onto my thoughts.

Life in full time camping ministry as an intern is quite busy.  There are always projects on my to-do list that need my attention.  Cabins need to be cleaned, dishes washed, brochures created and mailed out, youth pastors need to be called, e-mails must be sent, data needs to be stored one way or the other, our summer programs need planning and, of course, the long list continues.  Don't get me wrong, it can be pretty glamorous, too.  I live on the Oregon coast and get to see God move.  Who wouldn't love that?

As any Christian knows, the daily act of picking up one's cross and following Christ is both a heavy and a light burden.  It is pure joy to be here, I know without a doubt that God has called me to this enchanting world.  On this earth to truly experience, understand, appreciate the good, we must tango with the bad.  The bad I dance with these days is my flesh.

My aunt Pam's words in her blog post, Never Underestimate Jesus, resonated keenly with me.  I, too, know that trip through the Columbia River Gorge so very well.  I have been on that road countless times my twenty-two years of life.  It is a well-known path to me.  I can fail to recognize the beauty of that trip because it can be monotonous, draining, as my aunt said, but I can also fail to recognize the beauty because I'm distracted with myself, my flesh.  My anxieties, stresses, worries, burdens, my temptations, distractions, sins, my heartaches, sadness, woes, grief - all of it consumes me from time to time.

It parallels my life here.  Ministry is fraught with things that cause anxiety, stress, worry, burden, temptation, distraction, sin, heartache, sadness, woe, and grief.  There are troubles all around.  I am constantly distracted by my flesh.  I fail to recognize the beauty all around me - what God is doing; what he generously offers me to be part of.  I forget to remember there's something bigger than all of this, bigger than cleaning toilets, washing dishes, e-mails, programs.  There is a story unfolding here in Rockaway Beach, Oregon, and all around the rest of the world...a story of a broken world being reconciled to its grand creator through a selfless son and savior.  Stop and savor that for a moment...isn't it a wild thought?  It's the Chronicles of Narnia on eighteen thousand cups of coffee.  I love it.  I awaken to that reality from time to time.

Reading what my aunt wrote made me stop, think, and have such an awakening.  The fact that I came to know Jesus Christ as my savior was an answer to her prayers.  I was the product of someone's prayers (well, and obviously so many other things, but you know).  What beauty!  What adventure!  All of heaven sings when a heart and soul is reunited with its Creator.  And yet how quickly my flesh forgets, how easily distracted I am by the world.  But it's okay, in a way.  We do get distracted; we get consumed by other things; we forget abut the grander scheme of things.  But when we remember the adventure, when we have those moments that draw us into the Kingdom of Heaven, when we catch those glimpses of eternity it is all the more glorious for the time we've spent listless, distracted, monotonous, and horizontal in bed.  I do sometimes tire of this flesh and this world, I do sometimes tire of ministry and camp, and I do sometimes tire of the same old scenery on the same old road that I have seemed to travel so many times.

But then I set myself aside and I commune with the Holy one of ancient days and I awaken.

My salvation was an answer to my aunt's prayer.  The ministry I am doing is a dream I had for three years come to fruition.  This cozy, quiet, perhaps monotonous evening in my home is a precious pit stop on my journey along a familiar, yet ever surprising road.  What an awakening.  What a world.  What an adventure.  What a beautiful gorge.  What a faithful, faithful God.