I recently had the opportunity to travel to central PA and witness elk in their rut. The eerie sound of bugling echoed through the valley as the bull elk challenged each other. One very majestic bull in particular seemed to be in charge of all of the cows in the meadow. In the time we stood there, the valley eventually filled with over 40 elk including 8 mature bulls. This put a lot of pressure on the dominant bull. It seemed like he would just start to lay down for a rest and some of his cows would want to wander off, or a new young elk would enter the valley to challenge him. We were getting tired just watching his demands of his circumstances. His instincts would not allow him to rest long enough to even let one or two cows wander away. This challenge must’ve continued throughout the night because when we returned early the next morning his “harem” was considerably smaller and a second bull had collected many of the cows. Yet even in the midst of all this chaos, the incredible beauty and wonder of God’s creation was evident and inspiring in so many ways.
There have been times during this past year when I would feel like we might get a breather only to have one more variable change and then we had to be on our feet again. I know I am not alone in this feeling. The challenging part for myself is evaluating between what pressures come from without (circumstances, etc) and which come from within (my own expectations). Many of my fellow camp directors that I have spoken with have shared this same feeling. Our goal is to minister to people, but when we are restricted from contact with people, that makes that goal hard to reach in our traditional ways. In my impatience through this ordeal, James 1 has been an encouragement that I am to let patience (perseverance) have her perfect work, that I would be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. God is always in the business of growing believers up in Him. The word perfect does not mean that we have arrived, but that we are mature.
This has been a season of seeing things differently, of being brought back to the fundamental callings of proclaiming the Gospel message. It has exposed patterns, habits and potentially even ruts of ministry that we can fall into and not realize we’ve drawn a hard line on how we do things. The Lord brought in a time of stretching and strengthening as we had to creatively look for new ways to minister to others. In the midst of this we discovered many new avenues of ministry. From online video devotionals to having our first ever day camp, God has opened our eyes to many new opportunities. This has all served as a daily reminder that we don’t know what tomorrow holds, but we personally know the one who holds tomorrow.