By Jacob Johnson
“And Boom Goes the Dynamite” is quite possibly one of my favorite YouTube videos about a nightly news sports highlight clips with a struggling announcer. His classic one liner is where the title of the video comes from. This is my go-to phrase I use during Minesweeper, a small ropes course event I lead at camp with senior high age students. During the event, two students are paired up together and one must use verbal commands to guide their partner across a “minefield”. The mines are objects such as hula-hoops, cones, and frisbee, aka the camp basics. Once everybody guides their partner across, we switch partners and they get to give it another whirl. However, the second time I run around the minefield moving objects right in front of the blindfolded person. The blindfolded campers have no idea that I am trying to sabotage them, so it seems like they are just getting mixed messages from their partners. My favorite move is placing a hula hoop over top of them, forcing them to take a giant step out. Picture this: the volume of 8 students shouting directions to their blindfolded partners, counselors moving objects to cause chaos, and 8 frustrated and confused blindfolded partners in the middle of the minefield. It’s fantastic. Afterwards, the group comes together to process how each person felt and how it can apply to our spiritual lives. Usually the group ends up talking about the unexpected curveballs that life throws at us.
It was Tuesday morning at camp this past summer when the camp director snagged me for a hot second to tell me that my dad was going into surgery that day. They found a tumor in his stomach and it was growing quickly. They were going to remove it and check for cancer. It was so hard present at camp because my mind kept praying for and wondering how my dad was doing. That very same day I lead minesweeper, which was already planned the day before. As we wrapped up and started to process the event, I broke down in tears. My dad’s surgery wasn’t in my plan that day. When we started talking about life curveballs, I had been hit by a huge one earlier that day.
If you don’t believe God has perfect timing, get this: that SAME day we were teaching the theme verse from John 16:33. Jesus said, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” What a promise! Jesus tells us that we will have trouble in this world, and boy did I feel it that day. Praise God it doesn’t stop there. Even in our troubles, we serve a God who has overcome the world!
Here’s the best part. God doesn’t stand at the other side of the minefield barking orders at us. He doesn’t let us walk blindly stumbling along the way. Instead, we have a God who goes before us, with us, and behind us. He doesn’t promise to take away the mines, but instead promises to be with us every step of the way. I am grateful for a God who sees the big picture. My prayer is that I would listen to God’s direction, even if I feel like I know what’s best for my path. Hard? You better believe it. Is it worth it? You better believe it.