She was indescribably inconsolable. Her body was tense and tight. Tears welled up in her ten-year-old eyes. Waiting. Hanging. Gripping her eyelids to keep from falling. She paced back and forth, circling between the bunk beds and bathrooms inside the camp cabin, dazed and a bit confused. Then, the little camper stopped. She gave in. Her emotions got the best of her. She wailed, “I can’t find my conditioner!” She had lost her conditioner. That’s it. A full week of mess hall madness, outdoor activities and games, early starts and late nights, finally got the best of her. She searched frantically in every nook and cranny of the stacked, musty-aired cabin. She couldn’t find it, and she was devastated. “Have you checked your bag, sweetie?” Amy suggested. She looked up, tears streaming down her face, walked over to her bag, unzipped it, and pulled out… her conditioner. It was right where she left it.
We spent last week in the Prescott, Arizona forest as counselors for our church’s fourth through sixth grade summer camp. We ate mess hall food while listening to 250 elementary-aged students screech chants and bang on tables. We climbed to new heights on the rock wall, shot bows and arrows Hunger Games-style, and even tested our stomach reflexes on a mid-air suspension swing called The Screamer. We spent “Facial Hair Day” drawing Fu Manchu mustaches on the boys and Duck Dynasty beards on the girls. At night, we competed in “color wars” and rocked out to worship music. We wore lots of sunscreen, slept when we could, and showered at least a few times. Most importantly, though, we built relationships with children. We bandaged knees and held ice packs, filled up water bottles and monitored snacks, acted as alarm clocks in the morning and carried tired kids to bed at night, and offered homesick hugs and wiped away both sad and happy tears. We watched little lives change before our eyes.
A friend reminded us last week that Jesus loved little children. He adored their honest faith in Him. As adults, sometimes it’s hard to remember what that type of faith looks like, where it comes from, or where it went. But, just like lost conditioner, sometimes our faith isn’t lost; it’s right where we left it, waiting for us to find it again.