I’m forty-nine years old, and I went camping for the first time last weekend. Before moving to the Great Pacific Northwest in 2007, my idea of “roughing it” was staying at Motel 6 rather than Hampton Inn.
But the beauty of God’s creation beckoned, and late in the fall of 2011 our family dreamed of someday owning a piece of this land, where our grandkids could…
“…enjoy the untamed beauty of the Pacific Northwest.”
Sounds idyllic, doesn’t it? Well, through remarkable circumstances, we’re now the baffled, sore, and sunburned owners of a small parcel of land in the Cascade Mountain foothills. I’m going to tell you the truth about my first camping experience, and then I’m going to tell you the complete truth about it—similar to the strategy the Bible uses in Psalms 105 & 106…
Dreams Come TRUE
What we dreamed came true on our first camping trip. We indeed “enjoyed the beauty of the untamed Pacific Northwest.”
- Hummingbirds flitted around.
- Butterflies swept over wildflowers.
- A mother deer and her spotted fawn loafed alongside the road.
- Beautiful sunshine, fluffy clouds, and glorious sunsets overwhelmed us.
- We built a campfire to cook our food and keep us warm in the cool mountain air.
And we even enjoyed some modern conveniences that made “roughing it” not so rough.
- Batteries/inverter provided power for our refrigerator, laptop, and cell phones.
- My husband’s diligent research on a porta-potti was WELL worth the time end expense!
- An air mattress and cot made for comfy sleeping arrangements in our tent.
- The cast iron cookware was a huge hit for yummy food and easy clean-up.
Every statement above is truth. Just as every statement in Psalm 105 is truth. Our camping weekend sounds like a roaring success–like the Israelites’ escape from Exodus:
“[Yahweh] brought out Israel, laden with silver and gold, and from among their tribes no one faltered. Egypt was glad when they left, because dread of Israel had fallen on them. He spread out a cloud as a covering, and a fire to give light at night. They asked, and he brought them quail and satisfied them with the bread of heaven. He opened the rock, and water gushed out; like a river it flowed in the desert. For he remembered his holy promise given to his servant Abraham. He brought out his people with rejoicing, his chosen ones with shouts of joy; he gave them the lands of the nations, and they fell heir to what others had toiled for—that they might keep his precepts and observe his laws.” Psalm 105:37-45
The Complete Truth
But anyone familiar with the story of Moses leading Israel out of Egypt KNOWS Psalm 105 is “glossing over” a few ugly details–like forty-years of wilderness wandering for starters!
Every word is TRUTH, but it’s not complete truth. If you read only my bulleted report about our camping trip and Psalm 105, you’d draw the wrong conclusion about both experiences. You’d miss out on the adversity.
That’s why the Psalmist wrote Psalm 106…and why I must share more about our first camping escapade…
The Complete Truth About Camping
Our dream of owning a mountain property came true…but portions of it were a nightmare.
- I used the porta-potti after we set up the tent. I bent over the open bowl and pulled the flush lever—not realizing that pressure builds up in the bottom tank with an altitude change. POW, everything exploded UP—not down. Welcome to Camping 101.
- My normal daily migraine elevated to a #9 on the pain scale by the first afternoon, and I spent most of that day barely able to open my eyes.
- Since my skin tone is whiter than fair (I’m more like “clear”), both hubby and I were so badly sunburned by the second day, we were chasing the shade with our lawn-chairs to stay OUT of the gorgeous sunshine!
- It took us three hours to set-up camp and two hours to tear-down and pack-up. We were so tired and sore when we got home, neither of us could unpack.
- We took showers to chisel off two days of dirt, sweat, and grime, and then fell into bed—hoping to regain consciousness someday but not certain we ever would.
This is only part of the complete truth about our first camping trip, but you get the picture. Let’s talk about the Israelites.
The Whole Truth, and Nothing But the Truth
“In the desert [the Israelites] gave in to their craving; in the wasteland they put God to the test. So he gave them what they asked for, but sent a wasting disease upon them. In the camp they grew envious of Moses and of Aaron, who was consecrated to the Lord. The earth opened up and swallowed Dathan; it buried the company of Abiram. Fire blazed among their followers; a flame consumed the wicked. At Horeb they made a calf and worshiped an idol cast from metal. They exchanged their Glory for an image of a bull, which eats grass. They forgot the God who saved them, who had done great things in Egypt.” Psalm 106:14-21
Yep, that’s the nitty-gritty details of real-life with God. Whether it’s your first camping trip or wandering in a desert, life is messy, unpredictable, and people sin—us and those around us.
How Do You Read Biblical Truth?
When someone asks you, “How are you?” what do you say?
It probably depends on the person asking, right? Some people don’t want to hear the complete truth.
- Some want the short version—fine, okay, not-so-great-but-making-it.
- Other folks want to KNOW how you’re really doing.
I think reading Scripture is similar. When you sit down with your Bible, do you say, “Speak to me, Lord.”—and expect a quaint, little Bible story? Or do you want a meaningful God-encounter with a two-way conversation?
When you read God’s Word, take time to consider the context:
- What about the people?
- The place?
- The weather?
- The land?
Take time to consider the whole truth when you read God’s Word, and let Him speak to you in a new way.
- Can a truth be true without being a complete truth?
- First camping trip at age 49. Find out what it revealed about Scripture.
- The Bible and camping: discover what they teach us about telling the truth.
- Can you think of a Scripture that seems rather simple, maybe unremarkable—until the Lord unveils deeper truth?
- Here’s an example: “The chief cupbearer, however, did not remember Joseph; he forgot him.” Gen. 40:23