Some of my favorite memories as a child were when our family went on Camping Trips. Camping was an inexpensive way for all of us to pack up and visit places we normally would not have been able to afford to visit. We camped near beaches, on mountaintops and everything in between. There is just something about the camping experience that makes wonderful memories. Maybe it is the chance to get away from your normal routine. Or, perhaps its the smell of bacon cooking in the morning. It might be that your camping neighbors just always seemed to be friendlier than your normal neighbors. Whatever it was about camping certainly made a lasting impression on me.
I remember one particular trip we took to a local State Park. We went through the normal routine of packing the car full with our coolers and our tent and clothes and barely leaving enough room for all of us to fit in the car. Somehow we managed to make it to our destination and start the unpacking and tent set-up. I have to admit that we weren't much help to my Mom and Dad. He pretty much had to set-up the tent and unpack all of our "stuff" while my Mom kept an eye on us as we gathered wood for the eventual fire and had sword fights with the fallen tree limbs we found.
As nightfall approached, we finished our dinner of hot dogs over the open fire finished off with roasted marshmallows. We slowly made our way to our tent and started coloring in our coloring books and just having fun as a family. Suddenly, without warning, a huge storm approached. It rained and rained and rained some more. My brothers and I were fairly young and, of course, we were scared as the rain pounded our tent and the ground rumbled with the sound of thunder. Just when we thought the storm was slowing down, some of our tent poles collapsed and the center of the tent fell upon us. We kids panicked thinking the world was coming to an end while my Dad climbed out of the tent and reset the pole in the driving rain storm. He managed to re-sturdy the tent and climbed back inside, soaked to the bone, dripping water over all of us. Despite all of the drama, we could see the calm face of our Dad and somehow that calmed our nerves and made us feel safe and secure. It wan't very long until we were back working on our coloring masterpieces. The weather finally calmed down and we managed to all snuggle in our sleeping bags for a comfortable night's sleep—our tent and our Dad protecting us from the storm's fury.
This story reminds me of the many trials I have been through in my own life. Trials that many of you are going through as we speak. There have been times when I honestly didn't know what to do next. Times when I thought all was lost. Times when I felt hopeless. During those rainstorms in my own life, it always comforted me to know my Heavenly Father was there protecting me and repairing the damage of the storms. Over time, I learned that the driving rainstorms of life didn't have to be depressing and defeating. Instead, I let the storms remind me of His Heavenly protection and shine as an example of His many miracles.
Are you experiencing your own rainstorm in life right now? Instead of feeling defeated by the trial and the storm, let the rain be a gentle reminder to stay focused on God's presence in your life while providing you with encouragement that the warm sunshine is not far behind.