Camp Hopetown for 2nd-4th Graders: Give me your lantern and compass, give me a map...

 

Why are you down in the dumps, dear soul?

Why are you crying the blues?

Fix my eyes on God—

Soon I’ll be praising again. 

He puts a smile on my face.

He’s my God. 

Psalm 42, The Mesasge

 

If you had been anywhere near Camp Hopetown this week, you would have heard these words shouted out by 28 2nd-4th graders (and a few counselors)…over and over again.  We shouted them with angry voices, pretending we were mad because we wanted to ride the tube first.  We shouted them with sad voices worried we would be left out from our friends.  We shouted them with fearful voices that it would rain and keep us from the lake.  But however we cried the blues, other voices always shouted back, “FIX MY EYES ON GOD—SOON I’LL BE PRAISING AGAIN.” 

Melissa started off the second morning of camp talking about learning to waterski.  She said that, when she tried the first time, she found herself looking up at the sky and saying, “Lord, help me.”  Pretty soon, it was a regular thing.  Every time she went to get up on skis, she would naturally look up at the sky…fixing her eyes on God without even realizing she was doing it.

She talked with this group of 2nd-4th graders about the importance of fixing our eyes on God.  She talked about doing it when we have troubles or we’re frustrated.  She talked about fixing our eyes when we’re disappointed…maybe left out…didn’t make a team.  She talked about how much it helps to fix our eyes when we’re afraid.  “It’s normal to be afraid, but we want to learn to fix our eyes.  It may be you’ve been bullied at school…not asked to a sleepover…or that you feel lots of pressure to hit the ball in a game.  Or, it can be that you’ve been around someone who has been really angry or have parents who live in separate homes or you’ve lost someone very close to you.

We do feel these things, she said, and it’s okay.  Don’t try to hide what you feel.  God is saying, ‘Look at me.’  Fix your eyes.  God is in control.  If I’m upset, He says ‘I’m never going to leave you.’  If I’m sad or disappointed, I look up and he says, ‘I choose you.’  If I’ve been bullied or put down, he says, ‘I’m your protector.  I’m always with you.  The battle is not yours.’  If you’ve lost someone you love, he says, “There are so many mansions here.  Your ________ is a witness up here watching you.  Someday, you’re going to see me and the one you love fact to face.’  That’s fixing your eyes on God.

In the meantime, the Psalm also says, I’m going to give you a lantern, a compass and a map.  The lantern to give you light, the compass to give you direction, and the map to help you go.  And maps and lanterns and compasses were in abundance this week.  The kids each made all three to remind them of these truths and of the importance of fixing our eyes on God.  He is our light…our compass and our map.  And he takes us from being down in the dumps to having a smile on our faces. 

Melissa asked the kids how we fix our eyes on God and these were their answers…

“We pray.”

“We read the Bible.”

“We follow God.”

“We sing to him.”

“We remember that He always takes care of us.”

 

“Give me your lantern and compass, give me a map,

So I can find my way to the sacred mountain,

To the place of your presence.”

Fix all of our eyes on God…soon we’ll be praising again.