Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A Wounded Heart

Carl had to be one of the liveliest kids we’ve ever had at South Mountain Christian Camp. A conversation with him was like watching a Broadway performance. When I brought him up on stage for an illustration in chapel one night, he had me laughing so hard, I could barely get my point across. He was an entertainer from dawn to dark, and his smile never seemed to fade.

That’s why it was such a surprise to see a very different expression on his face when he approached me after chapel one night later that week. I could see that he was distraught, so, after the chapel room cleared, I sat down with Carl and his Cabin Director to find out what was bothering him. He then opened up to us about a very painful relationship with his father. Carl said that his dad was constantly ridiculing and making fun of him. I could see the pain in Carl’s eyes as they welled up with tears. He further explained that he was a believer, but that his dad often told him that he was going to hell because he was obese. Now the tears poured freely. Carl covered his face with his hands, and his shoulders shook with intense sobbing. He was mentally and emotionally beat down, even though he usually covered it up with his bright personality.

 For the next several minutes, I spoke truth to Carl. I told him about his identity in Christ—that he is loved (Romans 8:38) and favored by God (Psalm 5:12), and that God delights in him (Psalm 18:19). Then his Cabin Director and I prayed with Carl that God would heal his wounded heart. As we prayed, the Holy Spirit moved powerfully in Carl, and he received that emotional healing that he so desperately needed. A few minutes later, after the tears had dried, Carl stood up and made his way out of the chapel room with confidence. His burden was gone, and his heart was free.

 There are so many stories just like Carl’s from a great summer of ministry here at South Mountain Christian Camp. Over 70 kids gave their hearts to Jesus here this summer, and countless others had personal encounters like Carl's that dramatically changed their relationships with God. Even now, as we prepare to shift into our Group Retreat and SEEDS season, we give glory to the Lord for everything that He accomplished here this summer.