“the grass withers and the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.”
I came across this verse during the summer of 2018. I found myself at Camp Tadmor on the program team where I was responsible for filling in the gaps, and that year, there were many.
It was a humid July morning in Oregon, but I found covering in Camp Tadmor’s deep evergreen forest. I sat there, waiting. Waiting for the right moment to emerge from that cool refuge, into the scorching sun, and onto a field where two hundred high school students would watch me put on a show.
Our theme that summer was “search and rescue” and I played a lost girl who desperately needed rescuing. That morning, I would stumble onto that field where kids had just thrown sponges soaked in watered down paint at each other. My character had lost her way, and her memory. Once I made my seemingly dramatic entry, a rescue vehicle would come to pick me up on a gurney and drive off to get me some “medical attention” (it was really just the transition from our game to lunchtime).
But before all that took place that warm morning, I pulled out my Bible to continue reading in 1 Peter. Serving at camp brings along with it an overwhelming hunger for God’s Word. The demanding hours and physical exertion began to wear me down, but meeting God in Scripture is one of the only things that carry me through these challenging summers. And that morning, stumbling onto a blazing hot field in dirty overalls and a huge flannel did not sound like a way I could glorify God.
In 1 Peter 1, the apostle directs his letter to people from all walks of life, but they all have one thing in common – their faith in Christ. He’s writing this letter as an encouragement for people who have decided to follow Christ, no matter the trials they may face. Verse eight outlines what we will experience when we place our faith in Jesus’ death and resurrection:
“Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy.” 1 Peter 1:8
With this great joy comes a lifetime of learning, trust, and trials. This faith in Christ will transform you and set you apart from the rest of the world. Peter continues on in his letter and describes ways that a Christ follower should be: holy (v. 15-16), obedient (v. 14), deeply loving (v. 22).
During the time I found this passage, I was going through a challenging season and found it difficult to embody these godly attributes. Even though camp ministry brings joy and laughter, it’s also an intense, non-stop season of growth. So I sat there in the dirt, drinking in these words of truth, searching for some sort of Word from God. And He delivered that to me when I read verse 24-25, taken from Isaiah 40:6-8:
“All people are like grass,
and all their glory is like the flowers of the field;
the grass withers and the flowers fall,
but the word of the Lord endures forever.”
Humbled. God humbled me the moment my eyes read these words. In every challenging season I face, I believe I have what it takes to conquer that trial, to comfort myself in the suffering, to know the outcome of the situation. But the reality is – I am a blade of grass at the mercy of a great, powerful, and unconditionally loving Father. I hate to admit it, but there are seasons that I am quick to forget God’s strength and believe I can do life on my own. My sinful nature leads me to believe these lies and eventually, I crash and burn.
Just like the parable of the prodigal son (Luke 15), God has always been ready to receive me with open arms when I return from these seasons of ignorance. It was so fitting that this parable drove the theme of search and rescue during the summer of 2018. As I struggled with this sinfulness, God spoke to me through these verses and through the theme I had a part in developing every week. And at this moment, God intervened and reminded me that He is the One who endures and I am the one who trusts in that endurance.
Jesus is my Living Hope. I have decided to let His sacrifice on the cross and faithfulness in my life be the driving force in all that I do. Even in the small thing of a personal blog, I hope it encourages the viewers and ultimately, glorifies God.
Here’s a song that I often listen to and use to worship God. It has been so encouraging to me!