Expressing thankfulness can be a bit tricky these days. My world has been in chaos. For the past fifteen years, I’ve been employed by a summer camp ministry that has been thrown into turmoil by COVID-19. People just don’t want to go sleep in a room full of non-family members right now, and that’s kind of the crux of how camps and retreats work. I’ve gone through a number of unsettling and chaotic experiences before that have rocked my personal or work life, but I’ve never felt instability like I have this year. 

Some moments in our lives may feel like intense snowstorms with blinding white-outs and treacherous travel. Others may feel like overwhelming blizzards with bitter winds and no option but to find shelter and wait things out. But then the crazy big storm comes–an ice age. Not only will it shift what have been constant staples of our activity, but it will reorient attitudes and thought processes in all aspects of our lives.

In Dr. Seuss’s Oh the Places You’ll Go, there is a dreaded stage of life known as “The Waiting Place.” 

Waiting for the fish to bite
or waiting for wind to fly a kite
or waiting around for Friday night
or waiting, perhaps, for the Uncle Jake
or a pot to boil, or a Better Break
or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants
or a wig with curls, or Another Chance.
Everyone is just waiting.

Many of us are in this challenging season of waiting. So, whether the coronavirus, election season, or a personal matter are our storm, it’s not actually the biggest problem. The real wind blows where, in the midst of our circumstances, we have given fear, frustration, and anger a foothold. When these attitudes rush to the surface during an ice age type storm we become trapped and burdened by desperation; we become stuck.

“I give you peace, the kind of peace only I can give. It isn’t like the peace this world can give.
So don’t be worried or afraid.” – John 14:27

These words haven’t done justice to the all-encompassing, transformative, and embracing the peace that Jesus has been offering me. Through storms and blizzards, I may have simply been able to create my own calm. This was a facade though. Jesus is now inviting me into the real stuff. 

Jesus is inviting you to find real peace. 

If we let our guard down, if we recognize we cannot do this on our own, if we are tired of waiting, if we are sick of fear, if we are done with where we are…Jesus is here waiting to give us real peace. This is where we will come alive in the Kingdom of God that exists right here, right now.

In the Kingdom of God, my attitude and thoughts are being reoriented in the midst of chaos. I’m learning to lean into grace, mercy, generosity, thankfulness, and a peace that the Creator of the Universe is intimately aware of us all. This is what I want to have a foothold in my life. This is the image of the Kingdom of God that I want to encapsulate me: God restoring all things unto Him. 

This is peace.

Today, I pray that in the midst of your storm, chaos, or waiting, you will recognize the attitudes that oppose the peace Jesus is holding out to you. I pray that you will choose to shed those things in order to make space for the Kingdom of God to live within and through you.

Ryan Gernand

Ryan Gernand

Since 2005, Ryan Gernand has worked for Impact 2818, a multisite Christian camping ministry in Indiana, where he oversees three of the camp's operations and programming, leads marketing and communication efforts for all seven sites, and works on fundraising and development initiatives. Prior to camping, he served as a youth worker for seven years. Ryan and his wife Kelsey lead Yorktown Connect, an after-school Christian ministry for fourth and fifth graders. Their goal is to raise their children to become counter-cultural reflections of Jesus Christ. The Gernand's joined the Commonway family in in 2018.

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