Monday, November 22, 2010

Salamanders and Crawfish

Salamanders and crawfish are the stars of the show when we conduct our SEEDS program for 5th graders. The students come to spend the day outdoors with our staff while we teach them about the fascinating design of nature. One of the highlights of the day comes when we pull clusters of leaves out of the creek; place them in small, white trays; and allow the students to search for the many creatures that live in them—including the ever-popular salamanders and crawfish.

Recently I took a group to the creek for this very purpose only to discover that an intense rainstorm the night before had flushed nearly every leaf downstream into the lake. I managed to find a few handfuls of damp leaves along the shoreline, but I knew there would be nothing living in them. When I imagined the disappointment that would surely follow if the students were unable to find anything living in the leaves, I prayed to God for a solution. By faith I placed the leaves in the white trays; then I picked up a strainer that I often use to scoop the leaves out of the creek; and I spoke to my Father: “Lord, please guide me to find some creatures for these students to discover.” With that, I dipped the strainer into the leafless creek and pulled it out. There was a salamander! I quickly put it into one of the trays, and then repeated the process, including the prayer. This time I pulled out a crawfish! I praised God and continued repeating this process a dozen times. A couple of times the strainer was empty, and then it dawned on me that I had not asked for God’s guidance those times. But I want you to know that EVERY time I asked God to guide me, He led me to catch one of these animals. A few minutes later, the students were shrieking with delight as they found these creatures in the leaves and examined them to discover their intricate design.

For me the experience became much more than just finding crawdads and salamanders for the students. It became a living lesson on learning to rely upon God for everything. Here at South Mountain Christian Camp, relying on God is the only way we can operate. This entire ministry is built on faith, and God ALWAYS proves himself faithful to meet our needs. But it's not just about relying on God for the big things like finances and construction projects. Sometimes it's about trusting Him for the little things like salamanders and crawfish!