“Seek the Lord while He may be found; call on Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the Lord and He will have mercy on him, and to our God, for He will freely pardon.” Isaiah 55:6 & 7 NIV
A little over one-hour due East from Appleton and right on the shores of Lake Michigan is a little place called Point Beach State Park. It is at this tucked-away campground that I have some of my finest childhood memories and continue to create similar memories with my wife and daughters. Earlier this summer we packed up the van, camper, and kids, and headed out to Point Beach for a weekend in the woods. For those of you who often camp, it is likely that you have your established rituals when you first arrive, put in place to provide the most seamless setup possible. This camping trip was no exception and I mindlessly did what I always do when I first arrive at the campground and pulled the camper into the water fill station to fill up the water tank.
The water fill station at Point Beach is located about a half-mile into the campground and is tucked between a grouping of trees on your right and large sand dunes on your left. Many times this area is hot, humid, cramped with busy campers all trying to get on with their weekend, and the fact that it is nestled right next to the garbage bins doesn’t help to romanticize the scene too much.
As I sat in line behind another camper and waited for my turn at the water pump, a thought suddenly struck my mind. For anyone who has never been to Point Beach, they would be sitting at this fill station and thinking, “Is this all the park has to offer? A mosquito oasis, lined with large garbage bins and jockeying campers all trying to just get on with their day?” However, what they would not know is that if they simply walked about 40 feet to their left, climbed the large sand dunes, and pried their way through the low bushes and tall grass, they would stumble upon one of the most amazing views one could imagine…Lake Michigan, spread vast and wide, as far as the eye can see. A few more strides down the backside of these same sand dunes and they would immediately notice the temperature become cooler, the man-made noises become all but absent, and a dramatic peacefulness ensues that would make even a Wall Street broker take a moment to breathe it all in.
What struck me about all of this is the parallel between how we as Christians see the world compared to others who have not known the overwhelming peace that comes with knowing Jesus Christ as their personal Savior. Without Christ, all we would ever know is the daily grind and garbage of this world, jockeying for a status that we feel will let us know we made it, but never quite filling the void of true meaning. Without someone to grab us by the hand, pull us up the sand dunes of life, force a path through the tall grass that masks our view of God and say, “Look! Look at what you are missing!”, how would we ever know the touch of Christ on our hearts and the fulfillment that He brings? For those of us who have searched and found what it means to enter into a relationship with Christ, what a beautiful thing it truly is. I make this next statement more to myself than anyone else as I write this, but let us stand convicted in the hope that we know exists in Christ and do everything we can to bring others to the top of the dunes. Our Father will take their heart from there.