I’d rather be writing. I’d rather be sleeping. I think I’d even rather be back at work than here. At least at work I was doing something. As I sat there in the grass at Glory Bowl listening to campers tell everyone about the decisions they’d made during their week at camp and trying not to be distracted/terrified by the sparrow-sized bee sweeping the area, I thought about everything else I could be doing and sighed. I love Glory Bowl, it was always one of my favorite parts of the week when I was a camper, but the last thing any sane person wants to do on a Friday night after a twelve hour workday and an hour of chapel is sit silently on the side of a hill for an hour and a half and listen to more talking. I listened to the testimonies halfheartedly for a while, then a boy stepped up to the microphone in Ken Riley’s hand and took us all by surprise.
“My name is Josiah, and a week ago I was ready to kill myself.”
Josiah told us about his depression, thoughts of suicide, and a deal he’d made with God. He gave God one week to prove that He was real and that life was worth living, then prepared a suicide note and placed it in his pocket, sure that he had seven days left to live. God, however, had other plans, and He brought Josiah to Lake Ann Camp. One week later, Josiah stood in front of hundreds of fellow campers, pulled his suicide note from his pocket, and handed it to his counselor, Patrick.
“I’m not going to do it,” he wept. “I don’t need this anymore.”
They walked together, counselor and camper, and hurled the crumpled letter into the heart of the roaring bonfire at the bottom of the hill. As Josiah’s friends rose from among the crowd and rushed to embrace him, my eyes filled with tears. One thought filled my mind.
This is why we’re here. This is why we do what we do.
Suddenly, I didn’t want to be anywhere but right there, watching the ashes of Josiah’s old life floating away on the wind, thanking God for waking me out of my routine to see the beauty of what He is doing right here, every moment of the summer. It’s powerful, it’s beautiful, and the fact that I get to be a part of it blows me away. This is why I’m here. This is why I do what I do. Because my God is bigger than death, bigger than fear, and He’s in the business of saving lives.