A few years ago, my family went on a vacation to a national park in North Dakota. We had an enjoyable time camping and hiking, and all too soon, it was time to go back home. Of course, we had to camp a couple of nights on the way back because it took a few days to get home from where we had been vacationing. The last night that we camped was a very adventurous one.
We had been driving all day and were looking for a nice place to camp. Lake Sakakwea seemed to be good enough, so we stopped, paid fees, and selected our site. We set up our tents and put our bedding in them. Then we got out our supper and ate. When we were finished, we sat on the bank of the enormous lake to enjoy the beautiful sunset. It was a very nice evening. My brother decided to look around a bit and do some exploring. He had been walking around on the bank’s edge for a couple of minutes, when we heard a big “ker-plunk” like a piece of the bank had fallen into the lake. My mom said in a worried voice, “Hud, are you OK?” Hud was all right, but he told us that right after he had walked on a little patch of the bank it had fallen in. His guardian angel must have held that little patch up until he passed. What do you think?
All of us went to see where the bank had caved in, and there it was, a gap where dirt had once been. We could see the water bubbling and some of the fallen bank sticking out of it. We were all glad that our tents were set up safely—a few yards from the lake’s edge. As the evening went on, more of the bank fell into the lake, but we were all cautious and stayed out of harm’s way. Soon we went to bed.
That night a huge storm came through. It was raining hard, and the wind was ferocious! My brother, sister and I were sleeping in a fairly old tent that could not withstand such wind. I was sleeping on the side of the tent that was facing the wind, and the wind was so forceful on that side of the tent that it flattened the tent against me, and the poles were digging into my skin. It was not a comfortable position, to say the least.
My parents came out to make sure that their tent stakes were securely in the ground. My mom saw how our tent was being flattened, and came to see how we were doing. She saw my predicament and offered to let me spend the rest of the night in her sturdy tent. I accepted, glad to get away from those terrible poles.
I packed up my sleeping bag and made my way out into the dark and stormy night. Of course, when I left, the wind completely flattened the spot where I had been lying and pushed the tent against my sister. She decided to go sleep in our van, as she did not fancy poles grinding into her skin either. So, she packed up her things and emerged into the cold night.
When she got out, the wind deformed the tent even more. My brother experienced having the whole tent pinning him down, with very little space to move. He definitely did not like the hard poles squeezing him either, so he joined my sister and me for a more peaceful night in our van. My parents went back to their trusty tent for a noisy, but reasonably comfortable night.
Now you may think that we must have had a terribly chintzy tent. Actually, it seemed like a pretty nice one. We bought it from a good company, and when it was new, it was strong. Even in its later years, it served well through small storms. We were comfortable with it usually, and even now use it occasionally. It is good enough for most situations. The problem with that tent is that it failed the big test.
Thinking about that made me think about myself. “Do I have a faith, which, like that tent, is only strong enough for small storms? Am I building up my faith so that it will be able to bring me through the Christian’s big storm, because it is secured in our only true Foundation, Jesus Christ? Will I stand up strong and firm in all my trials, like my parent’s tend did?” These thoughts passed through my mind. I am now praying and striving for a faith that is strong enough to pass my big test.