~ Written by Viki Rife
The summer I was 10, I had a chance to go an hour away into the mountains of California for a children’s camp. For a nature-lover like myself, it was a delightful week of breathing in the rich smell of the pine trees and learning to recognize animal tracks.
One night in the middle of an energetic pillow fight when we were supposed to be sleeping, our counselor walked in from the nightly counselor meeting. Strangely, she didn’t scold us. Instead, she sat us down and explained that we were going to have to spend the next few days cleaning the cabin top to bottom and preparing a special program. The Board was coming!
It wasn’t long before the significance of the announcement began to sink in. Apparently, The Board had a lot of expectations and a lot of power. We were briefed on how we should behave when the Board Members were present. We scrubbed the cabin and aired our mattresses. We even hiked the paths into the woods picking up any sticks or fallen pine cones that might obstruct the Board Members if they chose to walk there. We overheard the kitchen staff planning the meals they would serve the Board Members. In my mind, it was comparable to having the Queen of England arrive at our camp. My greatest fear was, “What if one of them tries to talk to me?”
Several days later, running with my friends to lunch, I suddenly stopped dead in my tracks. There on the porch of the dining cabin sat my grandfather, his feet propped up on the railing.
“Grandpa, what are you doing here?” I gasped as I reached him.
He chuckled. “Enjoying the mountains and the sunshine,” he answered. Knowing my grandpa, it was no stretch for me to picture that he had driven all the way up here to sit on this porch for a little while. The twinkle in his blue eyes warmed my heart, and I was intensely thankful for his timing.
No Board Member could hurt me while Grandpa was here.
After a short chat, he said, “You’d better go on in. I’ll stay here and wait for my friends.”
As I entered, my counselor hurried over to me. “Why were you talking with that Board Member?” she asked.
“I didn’t talk to a Board Member,” I told her.
“Yes, you did. Out there on the porch,” she insisted.
I didn’t say anything, but I was hurt at being falsely accused. She should know I was way too shy to ever talk to a Board Member. Besides, I hadn’t seen any Board Members on the porch. I would surely have died if I had.
Then the camp director grabbed a microphone and announced, “Boys and Girls, I want you to welcome our Board.” The door opened and in walked…my grandpa and his friends! It still took me a while to wrap my head around the truth: my tender, patient grandpa with a constant hint of mischief in his eyes, the man I could confide my deepest secrets to, the one who loved me just the way I was, was a Board Member. The term no longer held any fear for me
Sometimes in my life, I think of God as an unknown Board Member making sure I don’t do anything wrong. Then I remember he is also the one who loves me beyond anything I can imagine.
Perfect love casts out fear.