This morning I awoke from a semi-restless night in a tent, on a blow up float (improvised for an air mattress) with smokey smelling hair from the grilling and campfires around the camp, fire-ant bites from getting up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night and not watching where I was stepping, and curious as to why dad was holding my truck key.
Two hours later, I am sitting here at our picnic table at the camp-site uploading pictures to Facebook, charging my phone, and blogging as I finish some scripture reading and begin to work on some lesson prep (after we go get coffee!).
Camping...it's what I knew doing as a young child often. Dad and I rehashed memories of our camping adventures along the drive Thursday and Friday morning. We talked about the old Datsun pick-up truck that my dad won in a contest years ago that we would put a cab-over camper on and just take off to go spend time with nature. Then, we jumped forward a few years to 1979 when dad's nostalgia kicked in a bit and he told me about the time that he thought he was moving us to Tallahassee for a job and family relocation. He said he got there...hated it...and kept on driving.
Moving backwards and forward a few more years...the big yellow Belmont Distributors van! My sister would remember it well! My dad owns an industrial chemical business. That is how he supported our family. This "big bird" van was how he and mom kept us fed, paid our bills, and took us on these little excursions. Sometimes they were just a weekend, other times to pick up chemicals, but then sometimes, we would go all out and spend a week driving around the country, stopping wherever we found ourselves, smelling like wild cherry chemical deodorant (that was one of their key products and services...and EVERYTHING smelled like wild cherry!!!)
Now on to today...
So, dad and I decide that we would take off on one of these "trips" like the old days. No planning, no room reservations, no real agenda. We threw a tent and a few other things in the truck and figured we would wing it the rest of the way.
We aren't avid campers. Matter of fact, the last time that he and I were "camping" together in a tent, not in a van or pickup truck, was probably around 1980 at the Boxwood Scout Reservation for Lads and Dads camping. Dad and I talked about yesterday that he never was really sure that he would be able to "do" that trip. But we did...and we enjoyed it. Now, here we are, 30+ years later, putting up our own tent (thanks to Katelyn for allowing us to borrow it), "roughing it" with oysters on the half shell that we are shucking ourselves, grilled boneless pork chops, corn, and asparagus for supper last night, and the beauty of the day to begin more memories today.
We found this wonderful and beautiful park with a campground after we drove around checking prices on motels near the beach yesterday. The "dives" were $189 plus tax per night! Not for these old boys!!! No sir, we chose the $26 roughing it camp site with water, electricity, bath house nearby, limited cell service, no wi-fi within 2 miles, no restaurants near, no stores, no coffee, no....well, you get the picture. Just a couple of talky neighbors last night for a while, and God's creation all around us.
I mentioned earlier that the night was "semi-restless." This was simply because of the "change" in normalcy for us. You see, my wife says I am a city-boy, and she is partly right. I didn't grow up in a big city, but didn't grow up in the country either. When we go on "normal" vacations, we stay in air-conditioned rooms or houses, have refrigerators and not coolers, have recliners and not folding chairs. It was just a tad bit different. But, that is what makes it grand!
This morning, as I mentioned, I woke up at 6:00 EST seeing dad trying to find the zipper on the tent and my truck key in hand. I asked him if everything is alright...his reply - "yeah, (smiling) I think I am going to sit in the truck a few minutes." The smile gave his motive away. He slept. I checked on him a few times during the night as we were laying near each other in the tent. But, most likely, like I was "sleeping," he was also tossing and turning and trying to adjust. It is now over two hours past that time. Dad is still "sitting" in the truck.
I got up and out of the tent, walked up to the bathroom, then just kept walking! I felt great! You see, even though I considered the night a "semi-restless" night, I was well rested! I attribute that to the wonders of God and the natural surroundings of our "hotel room." I felt like I could walk for miles and miles (in flip flops). And I did!
We are near a nature trail by the bay. I had mentioned to dad that I wanted to go there today. So, I found my way to the nature trail, and took a long walk. It is a short trail, but I decided to complete the trail and do a little more exploring.
I found myself walking about 3-4 miles in combination of the nature trail by the bay, on the road by the wilderness preserve (have to explore that next trip), then on an uninhabited and empty beach. On the journey, I shot some really cool pics, and had a visitor on the trail of a deer that reminded me of Bambi.
As I walked along this walk, I couldn't help but think about the beauty of God's creation. I paused to thank God for the beauty of the day and of my background of a walk before continuing through the path of dunes. What a great honor and privilege to live on such a beautiful creation.
As I came back to camp, I looked in the truck window to see if dad was still "sitting," and he was, so I took out my computer, tethered what little bit of internet signal I could get from my phone, and started reading some verses from Job. Now, I have a total of 4 Bibles in my truck, but I did not want to disturb dad in the process.
As I looked through Job 38, I found a verse that encompassed how I thought I felt about this creation this morning:
“Or who enclosed the sea with doors when, bursting forth, it went out from the womb;" Job 38:8
How powerful is our God? He is mightier than the sea, grander than the sun rise, brighter than the stars, so I decided to read more. As I continued to study, I thought about how many will say that there is such a healing power in the salty waters of the sea. Then, I thought of the tranquility of the walk down by the bay and thought about how comforting that was. Finally, as I thought about approaching the campsite and seeing my earthly dad sitting in my truck, sharing time with me this weekend, I had it all figured out...I thought.
I thought of all the beauty of this setting, all the grandeur of the sea, the cool and calming breeze, the katydids chirping, the crickets singing...this is perfect...then, one more of God's creations made me realize that this perfection was only what I might envision as an earthly glory. A swarm of fire ants once again became carnivores on my "flip-flopped" dawned feet. It was then that I was reminded very sternly...this world is never going to be perfect...but God's heaven is already!
Journey with me on this study as we walk together through this blog and reflect on Job 37:1-40:2:
““At this also my heart trembles, And leaps from its place. Hear attentively the thunder of His voice, And the rumbling that comes from His mouth. He sends it forth under the whole heaven, His lightning to the ends of the earth. After it a voice roars; He thunders with His majestic voice, And He does not restrain them when His voice is heard. God thunders marvelously with His voice; He does great things which we cannot comprehend. For He says to the snow, ‘Fall on the earth’; Likewise to the gentle rain and the heavy rain of His strength. He seals the hand of every man, That all men may know His work. The beasts go into dens, And remain in their lairs. From the chamber of the south comes the whirlwind, And cold from the scattering winds of the north. By the breath of God ice is given, And the broad waters are frozen. Also with moisture He saturates the thick clouds; He scatters His bright clouds. And they swirl about, being turned by His guidance, That they may do whatever He commands them On the face of the whole earth. He causes it to come, Whether for correction, Or for His land, Or for mercy. “Listen to this, O Job; Stand still and consider the wondrous works of God. Do you know when God dispatches them, And causes the light of His cloud to shine? Do you know how the clouds are balanced, Those wondrous works of Him who is perfect in knowledge? Why are your garments hot, When He quiets the earth by the south wind? With Him, have you spread out the skies, Strong as a cast metal mirror? “Teach us what we should say to Him, For we can prepare nothing because of the darkness. Should He be told that I wish to speak? If a man were to speak, surely he would be swallowed up. Even now men cannot look at the light when it is bright in the skies, When the wind has passed and cleared them. He comes from the north as golden splendor; With God is awesome majesty. As for the Almighty, we cannot find Him; He is excellent in power, In judgment and abundant justice; He does not oppress. Therefore men fear Him; He shows no partiality to any who are wise of heart.” Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said: “Who is this who darkens counsel By words without knowledge? Now prepare yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer Me. “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements? Surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it? To what were its foundations fastened? Or who laid its cornerstone, When the morning stars sang together, And all the sons of God shouted for joy? “Or who shut in the sea with doors, When it burst forth and issued from the womb; When I made the clouds its garment, And thick darkness its swaddling band; When I fixed My limit for it, And set bars and doors; When I said, ‘This far you may come, but no farther, And here your proud waves must stop!’ “Have you commanded the morning since your days began, And caused the dawn to know its place, That it might take hold of the ends of the earth, And the wicked be shaken out of it? It takes on form like clay under a seal, And stands out like a garment. From the wicked their light is withheld, And the upraised arm is broken. “Have you entered the springs of the sea? Or have you walked in search of the depths? Have the gates of death been revealed to you? Or have you seen the doors of the shadow of death? Have you comprehended the breadth of the earth? Tell Me, if you know all this. “Where is the way to the dwelling of light? And darkness, where is its place, That you may take it to its territory, That you may know the paths to its home? Do you know it, because you were born then, Or because the number of your days is great? “Have you entered the treasury of snow, Or have you seen the treasury of hail, Which I have reserved for the time of trouble, For the day of battle and war? By what way is light diffused, Or the east wind scattered over the earth? “Who has divided a channel for the overflowing water, Or a path for the thunderbolt, To cause it to rain on a land where there is no one, A wilderness in which there is no man; To satisfy the desolate waste, And cause to spring forth the growth of tender grass? Has the rain a father? Or who has begotten the drops of dew? From whose womb comes the ice? And the frost of heaven, who gives it birth? The waters harden like stone, And the surface of the deep is frozen. “Can you bind the cluster of the Pleiades, Or loose the belt of Orion? Can you bring out Mazzaroth in its season? Or can you guide the Great Bear with its cubs? Do you know the ordinances of the heavens? Can you set their dominion over the earth? “Can you lift up your voice to the clouds, That an abundance of water may cover you? Can you send out lightnings, that they may go, And say to you, ‘Here we are!’? Who has put wisdom in the mind? Or who has given understanding to the heart? Who can number the clouds by wisdom? Or who can pour out the bottles of heaven, When the dust hardens in clumps, And the clods cling together? “Can you hunt the prey for the lion, Or satisfy the appetite of the young lions, When they crouch in their dens, Or lurk in their lairs to lie in wait? Who provides food for the raven, When its young ones cry to God, And wander about for lack of food? “Do you know the time when the wild mountain goats bear young? Or can you mark when the deer gives birth? Can you number the months that they fulfill? Or do you know the time when they bear young? They bow down, They bring forth their young, They deliver their offspring. Their young ones are healthy, They grow strong with grain; They depart and do not return to them. “Who set the wild donkey free? Who loosed the bonds of the onager, Whose home I have made the wilderness, And the barren land his dwelling? He scorns the tumult of the city; He does not heed the shouts of the driver. The range of the mountains is his pasture, And he searches after every green thing. “Will the wild ox be willing to serve you? Will he bed by your manger? Can you bind the wild ox in the furrow with ropes? Or will he plow the valleys behind you? Will you trust him because his strength is great? Or will you leave your labor to him? Will you trust him to bring home your grain, And gather it to your threshing floor? “The wings of the ostrich wave proudly, But are her wings and pinions like the kindly stork’s? For she leaves her eggs on the ground, And warms them in the dust; She forgets that a foot may crush them, Or that a wild beast may break them. She treats her young harshly, as though they were not hers; Her labor is in vain, without concern, Because God deprived her of wisdom, And did not endow her with understanding. When she lifts herself on high, She scorns the horse and its rider. “Have you given the horse strength? Have you clothed his neck with thunder? Can you frighten him like a locust? His majestic snorting strikes terror. He paws in the valley, and rejoices in his strength; He gallops into the clash of arms. He mocks at fear, and is not frightened; Nor does he turn back from the sword. The quiver rattles against him, The glittering spear and javelin. He devours the distance with fierceness and rage; Nor does he come to a halt because the trumpet has sounded. At the blast of the trumpet he says, ‘Aha!’ He smells the battle from afar, The thunder of captains and shouting. “Does the hawk fly by your wisdom, And spread its wings toward the south? Does the eagle mount up at your command, And make its nest on high? On the rock it dwells and resides, On the crag of the rock and the stronghold. From there it spies out the prey; Its eyes observe from afar. Its young ones suck up blood; And where the slain are, there it is.” Moreover the Lord answered Job, and said: “Shall the one who contends with the Almighty correct Him? He who rebukes God, let him answer it.”” (Job 37:1–40:2, NKJV)