God is Good

Here I am, at the end of day 1 writing a post here instead of sleeping heh. I do think it's important to pen this down though.

The lead up to this camp has been frustrating in many ways and today didn't go particularly smoothly either (outdoor cooking was supposed to end at 8, but because of some mess ups we ended after 10 lol), but at the end of the day I'm really thankful.

Someone once said long ago (back in AC days) that a camp is successful not because the programmes ran smoothly, or because the food is good, or because everyone have fun or any of those metrics. A camp is successful if it brings us closer to God, if God is glorified in the midst of it.

In that regard, failures have often been amazing opportunities for the grace of God to be displayed. It's something which is rather counterintuitive to my nature. I tend to plan everything in great detail, covering every contingency and ensuring that everything will run smoothly. To me, it is our responsibility to do things with excellence, and it irks me when one does not do a proper job, failing to plan properly and thus jeopardising the camp experience. To me, that is simply being irresponsible.

I still think that it's important for us to be responsible of course. However, God's ways are higher than our ways, and He can turn what is supposed to be a jeopardised camp experience into something beautiful. Even though things didn't go according to plan in the end, I can't help but feel that how things did eventually pan out achieved more than what we would have with our original plan.

So because of that, I thank God. It is in our weakness, in our failures, that we can especially clearly see His strength and His Goodness. It is especially humbling for me, knowing that it absolutely was not us, not my intricate planning or whatever, which made this camp experience a fruitful one but Him alone.

Another humbling experience was recognising that I too have my weaknesses. I am thankful for the show of force of the officers. Many who couldn't make it in the afternoon made an effort to come in the evening. Which is really the perfect timing because that's when things became problematic.

All the accumulated emotional fatigue from having to deal with camp related problems has made me really tired of having to deal with these things and I just didn't want to deal with them anymore. So I just retreated to rest. Should I have stayed and tried to do something? Perhaps. It didn't really matter as there were enough people around to deal with it, but at the same time, I recognise that the act of retreating at that moment and leaving it to someone else to deal with it was a moment of weakness.

I am thankful that there were those who stepped forward to assist in finding solutions to tackle the issues, and there are those with better people skills who can better address the situation than I could have.

A last thought. Grace. As a person with weaknesses, I need grace. Grace extended from God, and from the people around me who are willing to forgive and are patient with me when I'm not in top form.

In the same way I need to extend grace to others. There was a particular person who made this camp a rather frustrating one for me. It had to do with all the things I mentioned at the beginning, irresponsibility in planning, not getting the job done and so on. It was frustrating because despite already having other commitments, I had to step in to do something about the situation and take on additional burdens as I did not want the camp experience to be jeopoerdised. It was frustrating that I basically felt that I couldn't entrust anything to the person, even the simplest tasks. It was frustrating that despite repeated prompts and reminders and offering to help, the person basically said he would settle it, and then it doesn't get settled. I was really feeling quite frustrated at the person.

But at the end of the long day, at 1.11am when everyone is feeling so tired and not wanting to do anything anymore, I found him by himself at the washing point washing every single stove and mess tin of all 20+ campers. I thought we agreed that we would deal with it tomorrow, but he wanted it done because the stains would be harder to remove if left overnight. When I asked him why he didn't ask anyone for help, he simply said 'it's okay everyone is already tired I can do it myself you go get some rest'. He woke up at 8+ and has been with the campers the entire day.

He's always been like that really. When something manual needs to be done on the ground, he's always reliable, and he will give his best no matter how tired he may be. It's something I always respected him a lot for, especially knowing how I tend to be the opposite and hate manual work and try to avoid it, especially when I'm tired.

Sure, it was a shit job at planning and made things really frustrating, but I recognise that such things have never been his forte. I still think that it was quite irresponsible, but I am reminded that he, just like myself, is just an imperfect person with weaknesses. Just like how I need the grace of God and the people around me, so does he.

That and, perhaps I shouldn't be trying to get people to meet the high standards I set for myself. Perhaps it's precisely because it is a strength of mine that I am able to set high standards and live by it. It is not very fair to be expecting others to meet my personal standards, as if these were God's standards (they're not).

So here we are. It's funny how right now I'm simultaneously looking forward for this camp to be done and put this episode behind me, but at the same time I'm thankful. We are merely imperfect human beings, but God is good.