Shout for Joy



 Shout for Joy

Shout for joy, O heavens;
rejoice, O earth;
burst into song, mountains!
For the LORD comforts His people
and will have compassion on His afflicted ones
—Isaiah 49:13

Here comes the bus!

The entire camp staff had assembled to greet our campers. We gathered in a circle, each in turn offering prayers for these precious children who had been placed in our charge for the week.

Years ago, I was one of the counselors at this camp for abused and abandoned children. Because of all the hurt, pain and anger they experienced every day, we were determined to show them the joy, love and grace of their Heavenly Father.

We heard the rumble of the diesel engine before we saw the bus and smiled nervously before turning to greet the unknown faces in the windows. We waved, wondering if they were as nervous as us—probably more so.

The bus stopped in front of us and the door opened. When Peter, our ‘fearless leader,’ appeared at the top of the steps, we began waving again and welcomed our little visitors with shouts and whoops. Peter smiled his approval at our enthusiasm, then yelled, “Are you ready to meet your kids?” We clapped as hard as we could and were rewarded with smiles and waves from many of the children.

Peter stepped out of the bus and consulted his clipboard. Every time he yelled a camper’s name, we jumped, clapped and shouted a spirited welcome. The children seemed to enjoy the noise and attention so we continued to act like crazy fools, hopping and jumping in accompaniment to our shouts of welcome.

These children, who usually had no hope or joy in their lives, were like sponges in our care. They soaked in the wonderful news about a Father Who truly loves and cares for them and during that short week, learned how to turn to Him for comfort and peace.

Unlike those little children, we’re old enough to understand that life isn’t always easy. Instead of lamenting what we can no longer do, let’s try shouting and singing joyfully for what we do have. No matter what is going on in our lives, God is always there with us and shouldn’t that make us want to shout for joy?


7 thoughts on “Shout for Joy

  1. Love this glimpse into the past. It would be so interesting to know where those kids are today and how many followed Christ because of what love, care and respect they got there.


  2. I have been blessed to have worked at and administered well over a hundred children’s and youth camps over the years and I praise God for such opportunities.

    I do believe that a (well run) Christian camp, with 24/7 ministry is the best – or at least one of the best – opportunities we have to reach children and youth with the love of God. What a privilege!

    I often wonder about those we have had in camps and greatly encouraged when we hear from some who are now in committed ministry for the Lord. Praise God for His work in their lives!


    • Cloudwatcher, I’ve written a kind of followup to this that will publish in the next few days, so watch for it. Bless your heart for all the work you’ve done in serving God’s children!


  3. Oh, what wonderful memories you evoked with this Anna! I only got to be involved one time when I helped as a camp counselor with the youth from my old church in the 80s. My girls were teenagers then. I will never forget the fun of letting go and joining in the fun with them. I did get to experience a young boy getting saved after he felt convicted for breaking one of the camp’s rules. I was privileged to lead him to Jesus, what an honor. We may never know the difference God made through us in some hearts until we get to our Heavenly Home. I look forward seeing recognition in faces I ‘wondered’ about. God Bless, Anna


  4. Pingback: Faith For What We Do Not See | This Thing Called Life...

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