'When I was fifteen I went to camp with a local youth group from my hometown. There are several things I remember about that week—water skiing on the beautiful lake where the camp is situated, the chapel times, the boy I had a crush on, the evening campfires where we sang and made commitments to the Lord, the evening games and laughing late into the night with my good friends that slept in the bunks around me.
But there is one thing I remember most clearly about that week. I was falling in love with Jesus in those years, and He was drawing me to Himself through music. I had always loved to sing, but after I met Jesus, music became purposeful in my heart and life. I loved playing and singing all the popular songs of the day, but when I sang to or about Jesus, something in my heart came alive. Which is why, at that camp when I was fifteen, I would get up before the sun and make my way over to the little upright piano in the empty chapel and play and sing all the worship songs I could think of. And I would wander down to the bank of the lake where I would journal pages and pages and sing simple, made up songs of praise that expressed the thoughts and prayers and longings of my teenage heart.
So here I am nearly 45 years later, at that same beautiful camp, leading worship for 250 women who have come here to meet with Jesus. This morning we sang “Rain came and wind blew, but my house was built on You.” (Taken from Jesus' parable in Matthew 7 about the house built on the rock). I can look back over the last four decades and recall some frighteningly strong winds--circumstances that threatened to blow me over for good. But all those years ago, as a young girl, I began to “build my house” on the foundation of Jesus, planting His Word in my heart and learning to know and trust God’s character. My roots have gone deep through these many years. He has never failed to be who He says He would always be, especially in the hardest of times: Savior, healer, provider, the faithful and present God, light and life and hope and holder of all my tears. Joy-giver to my melancholy soul.
It’s like coming full circle, this weekend. I am completely overcome with gratitude for a life of walking with Jesus through every season. If you have a longing at your core that is beyond what this world can satisfy, Jesus is the answer. And if you used to walk with Him and you’ve walked away, His forgiveness is free and final and it’s never too late to start over. He is the lover of your soul. He’s the only firm foundation. There is life that never ends, beyond this temporary world and all its shaking. What joy it is to walk with Him on solid, unshakeable ground, now and forever.