The busses just pulled out. 350 campers and leaders are on their way home.
We are left here to rejoice in the way we saw God at work – and to cope with the empty space left in our hearts by those who just departed.
It’s hard to say goodbye.
Sure, tonight we might get to relax, and tomorrow we don’t need to rise for an early breakfast. But we will miss the faces we were just getting to know and the smiles we were just growing used to and the souls we were just starting to love.
Those 350 middle-schoolers left behind a deep well of joy and hope and grace and love.
They also left behind this:
. . . shirts and shorts and shoes and all manner of stuff that a middle-schooler may not miss, (but the mother who bought it might).
It’s this way at the end of every camp week. Kids are so busy running and playing and laughing and dancing and hanging out and having fun that lost items of this-or-that often go entirely unnoticed. Unmissed. Unseen. Unsought. Unclaimed.
The items in this pile that are expensive, clean, stylish, and attractive might someday be claimed.
The items in this pile that are ripped, worn, smelly, and dirty will not.
Thank goodness the same is not true of God’s view towards humanity.
He is never too busy holding the stars in place or breathing life into the universe to not notice a lost soul.
And He does not consider any lost soul – regardless of whose it is, where it has been, what it has done – to be a merely this-or-that item, not worth the effort of seeking and finding.
Jesus came not to condemn the world but to redeem it. Jesus came to offer hope to those who know they are broken. Jesus came to show us how to live.
Jesus came to seek and to save the lost. He does not distinguish between those who appear to be clean, stylish, and attractive and those who are obviously ripped, worn, and filthy.
He seeks them all. Unceasingly. Lovingly. Faithfully. Gently.
And when He finds even just one – well, then the cosmos is momentarily shattered by the joy within His heart and the celebration throughout the heavens.
We once were lost. We now are found.
Nothing will never be the same.