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My son Andrew and I took a vacation the week of the Fourth to Lutheridge. The past several years, we’ve gone up for Family Camp. That’s where you do all the regular camp activities ó pool, crafts, snack bar, canoeing, etc. ó as a family.
(OK, well, Andrew canoed with our friend Gary while I went to crafts.)
But other than that, we were together most of the time the rest of the week.
While Andrew and his friends went to Kidzcamp during the morning, the adults went to Bible study. This year’s campwide theme was “Listen! God is Calling.”
Each day, all ages studied how God is calling us to be loved, to gratitude, to faith, to love and to share.
These were all familiar passages, which I especially enjoyed. I’m not good at trying to decipher some of the more obscure texts in the Bible.
Lutheridge has always defined itself as a place apart. A place of solitude. A place of renewal. A place away from television, cellphones and laptops ó although we could check our e-mail when we needed to.
Because of that, Lutheridge is one of those places where God’s presence is more noticeable in our lives.
And sometimes, when God wants to make his presence known, he can be really obvious.
Let me tell you what happened to us.
One afternoon after our pool session, I stopped by to check on Ryan, 4, one of our new friends we’d met that week.
Like most little kids with no body fat, Ryan had come out of the pool nearly frozen. But he was dressed and all warmed up when I saw him, so I went on down to the room to meet Andrew.
I found my 10-year-old son attempting to pick our lock with a stick.
You know what happened.
The stick broke off and stuck in the lock. The key jammed the broken stick farther in. Ryan’s dad Craig couldn’t get it out with his awl. (No clue as to why he had an awl with him.) Jerry, who would become our good friend from maintenance, couldn’t fix it either.
After supper, Jerry came back and cut the screen of the window, which fortunately we’d left unlocked, and we shoved Andrew through to open the door.
“I saved the day, Momma!” Andrew said proudly.
Oh, yeah, you saved it, I thought.
Jerry brought us a new, temporary lock, and fixed the window the next day.
Being my honest self, I stopped by the office to offer to pay for the damage. (Actually, Andrew understood that we was going to pay for it from his allowance.)
The next evening, I got a bill for $93. (That bill, by the way, included the locksmith’s fee. Ouch.)
I nearly had a stroke.
“That’s OK, Momma,” Andrew said. “My birthday is coming up next week and I’ll just pay for it out of that.”
This, of course, made me feel worse.
The Mexican dinner we’d eaten late that evening, coupled with dessert from Dairy Queen, didn’t help matters.
I tossed and turned about all night long.
Just before I dropped off to sleep, I remembered a saying one of my former editors used all the time: “The Lord will provide.”
The next morning, I went by the office on my way to Bible study, to duck into the restroom.
That’s when I was handed yet another envelope.
Great, I thought, more bills.
I opened it in front of the bathroom sink.
The same charges were listed, but at the bottom, in thick, black ink was written, “Paid in full.”
I stood there stunned for a minute, and then grabbed a wad of paper towels, because I knew I’d be crying all during the Bible study.
The theme of our last day together was “Called to share.”
What better example could there be?
“Paid in full.”
The only thing I could think of, as I told the group later, was how Jesus has paid in full for our sins.
You don’t ask for God’s grace. You don’t deserve it.
Yet you receive it anyway.
I have a pretty good idea who paid that bill, but that person never came forward, so I’m just going to keep them in my prayers as our anonymous angel.
There’s an old camp song we used to sing years ago about seeing the face of Christ on your brother.
One way or another, it happens every year at camp.
But we’ll never forget the summer of 2007, when God made his presence really obvious to a kid and his mom with a broken lock.
nnn
Contact Susan Shinn at 704-797-4289 or sshinn@salisburypost.com.

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