I didn’t see him until I stepped up to the pulpit, but his face immediately caught my attention. I knew I had seen him somewhere before, and I suspected he’d come to summer camp. He was a young African-American man, about twenty years old, seated in the congregation at Restoration Church where I had been invited to speak that morning. He was dressed casually, but neatly, and the familiar smile that crept across his face told me that he recognized me as well.
I tried to set my curiosity aside and move on with my Sunday morning sermon. As I shared the message, I found my focus continually drawn in his direction. Every time I looked his way, his eyes were locked onto me, and my memories of his face from summer camp gradually sharpened from a blurry haze to crystal clarity.
At the conclusion of the church service, I stood near the platform chatting with several of the church members. When I saw him approaching from the corner of my eye, I turned his way, and a huge smile spread across his face.
“Do you remember me?” he asked.
“I sure do!” I replied. We reminisced and laughed about summer camp over the next few minutes.
Then he grew more serious. “I want to tell you,” he said, “I...I just got out of jail. I messed up, but I want to get back on track. That’s why I came to this church this morning. And I just couldn’t believe it when I saw you up there. It was just like I was back at camp again. I know God brought me here so I could hear what you had to say. That message was for me.”
The message had been about Joseph and how God used his time in jail to work something good in Joseph’s life, even though it must have seemed like God had abandoned him. I had used that message several times during summer camp. Now that message had found a resting place in one of our former campers, and it came at just the right time.
God works ALL things for good. We know this, and we have seen evidence of it time after time here at SMCC. He does it for us, for our campers, and for you too.