Wednesday, December 12, 2012
When I was seven years old my dad was pastor at Muldoon Denali Baptist Church in Anchorage, Alaska. In the summer our family would go to Victory Bible Camp for a retreat. The campground was surrounded by beautiful mountain ranges. There were horses to ride and other activities, but the thing I remember the most was the concession stand.
Our family stayed in one of the pastor’s cabins. Across from the cabin was a playground. Just a short walk from the playground was the Victory Bible Camp concession stand. The second morning we were at the camp we had settled in to the cabin, dad took me for a short walk to show me the little store. He walked up to the counter and made an arrangement with the cashier to allow my brothers and I to charge snacks on an account in his name. He agreed to pay the bill at the end of the week.
The little store was so convenient, and being only seven, I was not used to having the freedom to walk places on my own. Everyday during our stay a few times . . . or maybe more like several times a day, my brothers and I would walk to the store and “load up” were the exact words my dad would later use, on snacks, drinks, toys, and other junky souvenirs.
Seriously, it was the most fun I can remember having. As I sit here writing, I’m struggling to remember anything else about our week at Victory Bible Camp other than going crazy at the concession stand.
I also vividly remember the part when the bill came due. It was the typical, last day packing for the trip home scene. There were overfilled suitcases being loaded up in the trunk, mom was checking all the dresser drawers and under the bed to make sure nothing was left behind. It was just about time to load up in the car and I heard dad say, “Diana, I’m going to go pay the store.”
I walked with dad to the store. The lady behind the counter got down her little red plastic box where she filed away all the 3x5 cards. She flipped through the alphabetical tabs until she came to “L” and there was the card. It said, “Lane, Don E.” and on that card was a detailed account of all of the purchases made by my brothers and me during the length of our stay.
There was complete silence as my dad surveyed the damage. He looked down at me, all decked out in my red VICTORY BIBLE CAMP hooded sweatshirt, sipping water from my VICTORY BIBLE CAMP insulated mug. It was all over me what I had done and now the bill was due. I couldn’t see the amount of the bill, but I could see that the blood had drained from my dad’s face. He wasn’t happy. Still, he paid the debt and I went free. I’m sure it crossed his mind to leave me at the camp to be used as an indentured servant until I had worked off the 24 Butterfingers I bought. But he didn’t, he paid the debt and loaded me up in the car to go home.
This morning I was struggling. Something in my heart was just not right. God was convicting me and I didn’t want to call it out for what it was. SIN. I asked the Lord what I needed to do about it and He directed my heart to Psalm 32.
Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven,
whose sins are covered.
Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord does not count against them
and in whose spirit is no deceit.
When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long.
For day and night your hand was heavy on me;
my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer.
Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity.
I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord.”
And you forgave the guilt of my sin.
Reading this Psalm was like drinking a glass of cool water. Here I am all wrapped up in my sin and the Lord has already paid the debt. I have to turn it over to Him, accept His forgiveness, His grace, His mercy if I want to stay within the sound of His voice. The rest of the Psalm reads:
Therefore let all the faithful pray to you while you may be found;
surely the rising of the mighty waters will not reach them.
You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble
and surround me with songs of deliverance.
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.
Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding
but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you.
Many are the woes of the wicked,
but the Lord’s unfailing love surrounds the one who trusts in him.
Rejoice in the Lord and be glad, you righteous;
sing, all you who are upright in heart!
There is a wonderful worship chorus that we sing at Truth that says, “I’ll never know how much it costs to see my sin upon that cross.” I’ll never understand why God allows His children to enjoy the depth and the fullness of His faithful love while He bore the burden of our sin on the cross. In return He asks me to serve Him in all of my brokenness so He might be glorified. So, to live this way will be my response.