Monday, June 27, 2011

Promises, Promises

Over the weekend, my family went camping with two other couples from our small group. It was the first time my husband and I had camped in maybe three years, and it was the first time we'd taken our toddler son camping. We all had a great time chilling in the great outdoors.

Until Saturday night.

The forecast called for rain, but we didn't think much of it. It was only, like, a 40% chance of rain when we left for the park, so it didn't seem like a big deal. Besides, our tent was pretty new. Not beat up. Should hold out. Right?


It started raining somewhere around midnight. Then storming. Around 2 a.m., I awoke to water dripping on my face. My sleeping bag was already a little wet, so I tried to adjust and cover up. I couldn't get back to sleep, though, because I was worried about our toddler getting wet. I adjusted his sleeping bag to make sure he was covered, and then I tried to go back to sleep. But I couldn't.

You see, before bed, I had warned my son that it would probably rain. But I promised him that Mama and Daddy would keep him warm and dry and safe.

And I was freaking out about keeping that promise.

Around 3:30, I dozed off, but my toddler woke up crying at about 4. He was drenched. Head to toe. I had to calm him down, change his clothes, put him in the sleeping bag with me, all the while reassuring him that he was OK, that I would get him dry and warm again, that we'd be safe.

Five minutes later, I realized a puddle had formed under our air mattresses. I was done. We threw some clothes on, got in our car, and headed for the McDonald's next to the park. It was 5 a.m., and the place didn't open until 6, so we sat/slept in the parking lot until it opened, grabbed breakfast, sat some more, then headed back to the campground at first light to pack up and get the heck out of there.

I'm crushed that I couldn't keep my promise to my son. He was still pretty safe, but I failed on the "dry and warm" front. I couldn't control it. I prayed all night for the rain to stop, but I realize that sometimes God has other plans he's working on at the same time. In my heart, I felt the message, "I'd really like to stop the rain for you, Rachel, but there are other plans in motion that I have to continue. Just do your best." So I did. My son got drenched, but I managed to return him to a dry and warm state posthaste.

Sometimes we feel like God fails us when we think he doesn't take care of us, especially if it's not in a timely manner. I want God to keep me dry and safe and warm all the time, but sometimes I get drenched. I get mad at God and say, "Why did you let that happen?"

My son didn't ask me that. He gave me time to dry him off. He snuggled up to me so I could get him warm again. Not once did he question me, tell me he was mad at me, or assume that his getting drenched was my fault. He didn't tell me I broke my promise; he gave me time to make it right again.

Are you giving God time to make things right again, or have you assumed he simply doesn't care enough to fix your situation?

Give him time. Let him dry you off. Be willing to snuggle up next to him to get warm again.

God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”
So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” - Hebrews 13:5-6

And if a silly human like me can keep a promise, just wait and see what God can do.


  1. I love the way you drew this back to how we react to God. I so want to be like your little one.

  2. I have been upset with God about something for the past few weeks, and have been so hurt and confused. Thanks for helping me gain some perspective - I, too, want to be like your son.

  3. Such grace. Thank you for sharing this story!

  4. Great post. Our first camping trip when our eldest was only 4 months old was a near disaster too. It was soo cold and I didn't think to put her in the sleeping bag with me, I just kept piling clothes on top of her to keep her warm and stayed awake panicking the whole night that she would freeze to death. eeks.

  5. Oh, I'm sorry your plans got wet. Great analogy with your story, too.

  6. Boy did I need to read this today - thanks love reading your blog

  7. Love the message that you heard: "I'd really like to stop the rain for you, Rachel, but there are other plans in motion that I have to continue. Just do your best."

    So often I forget that the world doesn't revolve around me. My momentary discomfort might lead to God's greater glory- much needed perspective. Great post, Rachel!

  8. I'm sorry your camping trip was all washed up, but I love how God spoke to you in the middle of it all (nice post!), and how your sweet little guy trusted you instead of getting mad, unlike SOME people (ahem).

    I'm snuggling up next to Him to keep warm...

  9. Loved this whole post! Just do your best and wait for Him to make things right. What a good and right perspective.


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