Another Camping Adventure – Suwannee River

I was trying to think of what I could share with you today that would be light, something humorous because I have been serious these last few days. Thinking about my camper days brought to mind another camping experience that was anything but joyful.

In my new adult life, having just turned 21, a couple of friends and I decided to go camping in Suwannee State Park located in North Florida. If you have never been to the Suwannee River campground, I encourage you to take a day trip there. You have to see it for yourself to be able to stand there and sing the song, “Way down along the Suwannee River, far, far away…..” If you aren’t familiar with the lyrics of the song, Google it.

Together, my friends and I made the 7-hour journey up to North Florida on a Friday, excitement abound, van loaded down, and ready to tent camp for the weekend.

Our destination? A famous state park. We would be seeing the famous river, enjoying nature and spending quality time together. My friends thought it would be a great idea to bring a small boat, big enough for four, with no motor.

The energy from making the trip would transfer into the oars and be our paddles. Back then, technology was not what it is today, so you relied heavily on maps and encyclopedias for information about places.

We made it.

We arrived at our destination. When we arrived, we were a little taken back at how primitive it looked.  We were expecting something along the lines of a KOA campground, but that wasn’t this place.

The park ranger showed us our site, gave us the long list of rules, and bid us farewell. There weren’t many people around, but at twenty-one years old with all your friends, who cares. We were just excited to be there, and we would make do.

Experience nature.

Do you want to experience nature and everything it has to offer? Camp up at the Suwannee State Park? Do you want to be able to hear every little noisy creature God ever made – ALL NIGHT LONG? Camp at Suwannee State Park? Have you ever seen an ugly brown river? Camp at Suwannee State Park. Will the words of the song keep running through your mind the entire trip? Camp at Suwannee State Park.

As I type this, I am reminded of a story from the Bible about a man who is told to dunk himself in the river seven times, and he would be healed of his awful disease.

Let’s read a passage.

Take a look at this one from 2 Kings 5:9-14.

5:9 “So Naaman came with his horses and chariots and stood in the doorway of Elisha’s house. 5:10 Elisha sent out a messenger who told him, “Go and wash seven times in the Jordan; your skin will be restored, and you will be healed.” 5:11 Naaman went away angry. He said, “Look, I thought for sure he would come out, stand there, invoke the name of the Lord his God, wave his hand over the area, and cure the skin disease.

5:12 The rivers of Damascus, the Abana, and Pharpar, are better than any of Israel’s waters! Could I not wash in them and be healed?” So he turned around and went away angry. 5:13 His servants approached and said to him, “O master, if the prophet had told you to do some difficult task, you would have been willing to do it. It seems you should be happy that he simply said, “Wash, and you will be healed.” 5:14 So he went down and dipped in the Jordan seven times, as the prophet had instructed. His skin became as smooth as a young child’s, and he was healed.”

Any lessons?

There are times when God gives us an answer to our prayer, but we try and negotiate the terms. We take His answer and try and bargain with Him to have what we want, the way we want it. As the servant reminded Naaman, “anything else you would do, you should be happy it’s as easy as this.” How many times have we done that ourselves? Easy doesn’t always mean our way does it?

Tomorrow, I’ll share another highlight from this trip. The weekend only got better from there. I’m still surprised I made it back home alive. Thank God!

Let’s pray.

Father, there are times when you give us simple instructions, and we throw our hands up in frustration and walk away. It takes someone to come alongside us and remind us of the simple things. It takes someone to remind us that it doesn’t have to be our way. We can be as stubborn as Naaman at times. Lord, help us in those moments when we struggle. In your Son’s name, I pray, Amen.

In His Service

The Camper Part 6



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