Happy Camper? Not!

Could someone please explain to me the philosophy of camping? And don't give me that "enjoying nature" malarkey because I can give you heat, sweat and bugs right back. I think I could win the argument without even resorting to the bathroom issue.

My family and I have a nice home. We pay money for this nice home, and then we pay more to fill it with every convenience. Camping, as I see it, is leaving this nice home (while still paying for it) and leaving all my conveniences, to go to a place that has ZERO conveniences. Then you pay the campground for the lack of conveniences. Does this make sense to anyone?

Awhile back, I reluctantly agreed to go camping with my family. I can't over-emphasize the word "reluctantly." You can still see the fingernail marks from my house (with all the conveniences) to the hot, bug-infested campground.

We happened to be there on the hottest weekend of the millennium--somewhere around 147 degrees. My five children, my husband and I squished our sweaty bodies into the three-man tent. Did I mention the 147-degree-temperature? How about the dog-sized mosquitoes that threatened to carry off my children? Did I mention those? We had to slather ourselves with some sort of cancer-causing dog-mosquito repellent.

My husband, ever the fun adventurer, suggested that we sit in a circle (all slathered and sweating) and tell our favorite Bible story. When it was my turn, all I could think of was the children of Israel wandering in the wilderness, camping in tents for forty years. It was stern PUNISHMENT for their sinful rebellion toward God. My husband and children were all, of course, deeply moved by my heart-felt sharing.

As I lay there trying not to think about bugs, snakes and assorted disgusting and/or frightening critters, I do remember clicking my heels together with a "There's no place like home." But when I opened my eyes, I was still there--slathered and sweating.

Richie, being the sweet and merciful husband that he is, suspended my sentence...I mean...shortened the trip. We left the next morning before I had time to complain about more than fifty or sixty inconveniences.

On the way home (to all our wonderful and even more deeply appreciated conveniences), he stopped at the mall. The mall is sort of Richie's "camping." I think he would rather have a root canal than take a trip to the mall. But he suffered the mall because I had suffered the wilderness.

I had to stop myself just short of kissing the wonderfully varnished wood floor of the luxuriously air-conditioned, bug-free facility. I was in my element, safe and far away from that campground purgatory place.

Psalm 9:9-10 tells us that the Lord is "a refuge in times of trouble." He is our refuge, our "mall," if you will, when we've been camping. "And those who know Your name will put their trust in You."

I praise God that I know His Name and that I can trust in Him so completely. I'm also praising God that heaven is obviously indoors. I'm clinging to scriptures that mention mansions and dwelling places, yes, but mostly I know it must be true because we're promised that there will be no tears in heaven. Surely no sweating and/or slathering.

[ by Rhonda Rhea (rrhea@juno.com), Rhonda's site: www.rhondarhea.net -- from 'Daily Wisdom' ]


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