Now for those of you who know the Scout laws, "A scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, etc." you'll notice one important camping skill is left out...
Probably that's because when I was a Scout, all I had to worry about was myself. Now, I have three kids a wife to look after, and that's where patience comes in. I'm not saying I'm perfect when it comes to camping. I left so many things at home it wasn't funny (D Batteries for the air mattress pump, extra batteries for the lantern...that went out 10 minutes after we got there, skewers to roast the hot dogs and marshmellows, you get the picture) But that didn't keep me from being annoyed at others... no sirree. I could be impatient when somebody else forgot things (paper plates and cups) annoyed when my son kept running off into the woods without telling anybody, or of course, entered the worst GRUMP ZONE of all when we got home and it was time to unload all the smoky things left in the family van.
It's a little humorous to me that God chose a family camping trip to teach patient faith to the forefather of three great religions...Abraham. Such a mundane venue, in a way, and yet such a profound journey.
Gen 12:4 So Abram left, as the LORD had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Haran. 5 He took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, all the possessions they had accumulated and the people they had acquired in Haran, and they set out for the land of Canaan
I have long since discovered that I am by nature impatient...more concerned with the end result than the process; more worried about final perfection than concerned with the small steps in between. Family camping reveals to me how short-sighted my approach is. It reminds me that the process of discovering what one forgot is in itself preparation for the next trip, and the next.
Abraham learned lots of lessons while camping with his family, the best ones when he wasn't in such a hurry he couldn't share a little hospitality with friends (Gen. 18) or drop what you're doing to help a family member who got lost (Gen. 14) It was when he got IMPATIENT that Abraham got in trouble (Gen. 16) like when he got tired of waiting for God's promise to come true and made up his own plan. (Although in fairness to Abe, the story reveals that it was actually his wife Sarah's idea...which she conveniently blames him for later. Another camping pitfall...)
Family teaches us that life is not about SELF...it is about community. Family takes patience and proves that going TOGETHER is worth the wait. I was reminded that regardless of what I know or the experiences I have, if I can't use that knowledge to enrich the lives of those around me, it's pretty pointless. Our camping trip wasn't perfect, but it was the pefect opportunity for me to develop patience. And I needed it...
Prov. 19:11 A man's wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense.
Where do you need patience ? What helps you develop it?