Bob’s beautiful new wife, Glenda, loved the outdoors. While dating, they hiked and biked together, enjoyed long walks holding hands, and now that they had their place together, they had added backyard barbeques to their outdoor activities.
Bob and his parents, siblings, and his cousins all liked roughing it. “Do it in a tent” was the family slogan. Bob guessed he might even have been conceived in a nylon-sided home! Even though Glenda was raised in a city, he was sure she would love it too. This was the moment!
“Let’s go camping this weekend. The weather is beautiful and sunny. We can even try out the Dutch oven!”
“Oh, Honey, I’d love it! Did you rent a motor home for us?”
“No, Sweetie, but I borrowed Dad’s little tent camper. It’s small and cozy, just right for cuddling!”
She agreed, not grasping entirely what it means to “rough it.” They packed the small sedan, hooked on the little trailer and drove until nearly dark. Everything was romantic as they prepared the evening meal on a camp stove as the setting sun lit their excited faces.
The trouble started when it came time for bed. They lay comfortably inside the camper that was only big enough for the two of them. Glenda chose the place closest to the door. “I love the smell of the land and the clean air,” Bob murmured as he drifted off with lovely Glenda in his arms, but she couldn’t sleep. Glenda listened fearfully to the night noises that were a lullaby to Bob.
“Bob, wake up! Something is scratching on our tent! What can it be?”
Bob decided to omit mentioning any of the large animals who made their home in the area, such as muscled mountain lions or nasty-tempered javelina, so he just said, “Probably something small like a raccoon.”
“I’m scared. Could you see what it is?”
So Bob climbed over Glenda, her body stiff with fear and gazed around in the silver moonlight. “It’s nothing, Glenda. Let’s go back to sleep. It’s a beautiful night!”
Scritch-scratch! Scritch-scratch! Scritch-scratch! The sound persisted and Glenda interrupted Bob’s soft breathing.
“Bob, do you hear that? Something is still scratching on our tent!”
Again, he sleepily sat up, climbed over Glenda, and checked outside. Everything was in place. No animal tracks either that he could see. A gentle breeze had come up, and it was as if God’s hand was waving a welcome.
Bob had only sighed himself to sleep again when Glenda woke him with her frightened request to check again!
“This is the last time I check! Nothing is out there! No tracks or anything! Go to sleep, Sweetheart. I’ll hold you. We’re safe here.”
The sun kissed Bob awake and he groggily climbed over sleeping Glenda to stretch and start the hot water for morning cocoa.
It was then Bob himself heard the scritch-scratch! He looked all around and finally found it—the nylon ties for the tent windows! With the gentle breeze, the ties had scraped the tent walls all night.
All that fear was for nothing! When Glenda got up, they laughed together about it.
How often do we fear that something will happen, and, in truth, it never does?
Consider this advice written several thousand years ago: “If you make the Most High your dwelling—even the Lord, who is my refuge—then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent.” [Psalm 91:9-10 NIV]
Worry, anxiety, and fear can be rolled up into a common idea: a waste of time.
God has our life and our fears handled if we let him.
And isn’t that much better than losing a night’s sleep over the scratch-scratching on the tent?
[Jo Russell is a Christian speaker, author of articles, anthology contributions, and award-winning Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women. available from Amazon.com, her speaking engagements and website, www.button-to-god.com. Enjoy chuckles and speeches, tips and excerpts in website options and weekly blog.]