Bill is a teacher who is raising five kids as a single parent. Summer has arrived, and best buddy Edmund invites Bill and the kids to go camping with his family for a week. Past experiences in the great outdoors have not gone well for Bill, but the kids really want to go. Hey, he thinks, it’ll be good to spend some quality time out in nature with family and friends. After all, it can’t possibly be as bad as the last trip, can it? So they camp at Happy Clam Park, but the vacation isn’t quite what Bill hoped it would be.
I laughed myself silly at some of the mishaps they encountered. The story reminded me of the old tv show “The Odd Couple”, with the two friends Felix and Oscar. They have totally different temperaments, and drive each other crazy as they try to share an apartment. In the same way, Bill and Edmund’s relationship takes a beating during the week. They have to decide if they can get past the petty arguments they’re having. This is a good read about friends, faith, and forgiveness.
Excerpt from pages 56-57:
Once again I was left with no other recourse… I had to beseech the Lord.
“Dear God,” I started praying in a silent panic, “we really need you here. You are the Wonderful Counselor. You are the Prince Of Peace. You are the Everlasting Father. You are the Bread of Life. You are the Good Shepherd. You are the Great Physician. There are so many profound and wonderful titles for you. I was just wondering… since you used to live in the Tabernacle – do you still remember how to pitch a tent? If so, could you demonstrate right here on the beach, Lord? That’s familiar turf for you right? You helped out Moses in a big way when he was stuck on the beach by the Red Sea. You walked on water in Galilee. You caused the fisherman’s nets to be filled on the sea. Could you just do one more seaside miracle? Could you help us pitch this tent? Please? Amen.”
I stared at the potential tent, still collapsed on the ground, wondering if God would hear my prayer. Maybe we’re in the wrong hemisphere, I thought. I guess you gotta be over in the Holy Land for beach-related miracles to occur.
“Why are you staring at the tent and mumbling?” Brandon asked.
“Nothing,” I answered.
“Well,” he went on, while you were off in La-La land, something very incredible has happened!” His confident smile assured me that he wasn’t kidding.
“What are you talking about?”
Without a word, he turned to his left, pointing to a spot about a hundred feet down the beach. I followed his index finger to God’s answer to my prayer. Another family was pitching a tent that appeared to be exactly like ours. And best of all, they were campers! They clearly knew what they were doing.
“It’s a miracle!” I uttered. “It really is a miracle! I had just prayed to God to help us pitch the tent. Instead of raising it up by himself, he brought this other family onto the beach so we could watch them. We’ll just do what they do, and we’ll have the tent up in no time. This family is from heaven itself!”
“Actually, their car is right over there and the license plate says they’re from Nebraska, but I know what you mean,” Brandon teased. “Anyway, I think you’re right. It’s a miracle. Look more closely at that family. Not only do they know what they’re doing, but they also have a teenage daughter who is fine. There is a God.”
Brandon’s relationship with the Lord was on a different plane than mine, but whether it was tent-pitching instructions or fine teenage girls, at that moment we both had to agree with the New Testament teaching that every good and perfect gift comes from above.