“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear…” 1 John 4:18 NKJV
You may have never considered this, but the Christmas story teaches us an important lesson about fear. When Mary learned that she would conceive a child before her marriage, she had reason to fear, but the angel said, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.” When Joseph discovered that Mary was with child, he was afraid to marry her, but an angel told him, “do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.” The angel appearing to the shepherds the night Jesus was born said, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy.” They each overcame fear because they believed the good news of God’s love.
When the wise men shared this good news with Herod, however, the Bible says, “he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.” Because of his unbelief, Herod was so gripped by fear that he ordered the death of innocent babies. Fear is an ugly thing, but God’s love overcomes fear.
You can ask Jocelyn about that. She was a delightful camper who enjoyed every part of her camp week last summer. One night after chapel, however, she didn’t leave with the other campers when chapel was dismissed. Through tear-filled eyes, she told her cabin director, Tatyana, that she wanted to give her heart to Jesus, but she was afraid. Tatyana assured her that it would be the best decision she ever made. Because Tatyana had built a relationship with her that week, centered around the love of God, Jocelyn believed her. By faith she stepped away from her fear into the never-ending love of God. Jocelyn was changed forever.
There are always opportunities to be fearful. This year at South Mountain Christian Camp we’ve come through storms, staff changes, facility damage, and break-ins. However, when we remember that God is in control and that He loves us, we don’t have to be afraid. We can move forward with confidence. He knows every need, even before we do, and He is always prepared with the answer. The same is true in your own life. You have Immanuel (God with us), and He will bring you through everything that comes your way.
Looking back, we can see that God has indeed blessed us with another wonderful year of ministry. Once again, we were filled to capacity with 600 summer campers; 420 of them couldn’t pay their camp fees, but we booked every bed by faith, and God provided the funding needed to cover those expenses. Seventy-seven of our campers made a profession of faith and were baptized in our pool. Thousands more came here for weekend retreats, special events, and our outdoor education programs. Over and over again, we witnessed people experiencing the presence of God during their time here, and their lives were impacted as a result.
As we move forward into 2019, we are filled with anticipation and thankfulness. We are already at work on next summer’s program, and we continue preparing for the construction of a new multi-purpose building which will increase our capacity, empowering us to reach even more people. We are so thankful for your partnership. Every prayer, every volunteer hour, and every donation makes a difference. We pray that your 2019 is filled with blessings upon blessings, victorious over fear, and abounding in the love of God.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from all of us at South Mountain Christian Camp!