Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Comfort, Character, and Scabies

“God is more interested in our Character than our Comfort,” Tom Johnson, director of GoodSports Slovakia, said on that fateful Wednesday morning during the Slovak baseball camp(yesterday). Wednesdays are infamously difficult days in the course of our camps. That day is late enough in the week for genuine fatigue to set in. Yet it is still early enough that the end is nowhere in sight. This week was no exception.

It all started when one of the boys from the Hungarian orphanage was taken to the hospital for an unexplained rash.

Diagnosis: Scabies.

Minor hysteria ensued. Someone alerted the Slovak health department. Officials came. Tensions that already exist between Hungarians and Slovaks stretched to their limit. Stereotypes and stigmas of “orphans” darkened even further as whispers of “epidemic” swirled through the halls. All those sharing a cabin with the infected boy underwent a process of fumigation – or debugging. Plastic bags filled with clothing and sheets received the pharmaceutical insecticide and those most exposed to the critters lathered up in an ointment lethal to the mischievous mite.

All Hungarians in the camp fell under something of a quarantine and during the eight hour treatment phase had to be isolated from the rest of the camp’s activities. The day screamed with stress and tempers flared, including my own, I must admit. At times, it was downright ugly. And at that moment we stood at a crossroads. Would we let this destroy us, or would be let God do His work through us even in this?

Indeed, God was not concerned about our comfort. So what is happening to our character in all this?

If faith is indeed the essence of things hoped for the confidence in things not seen, then I have every right be excited – to expect a real move of God in the midst of this mild fiasco. God is forcing our lives to rub up against one another in very uncomfortable ways. And in the midst of all of this, He is here -- ready to touch these tragically ravaged lives in wonderfully healing ways.

Please pray for this camp. I have no doubt God is working, but I have no idea exactly how at this moment. Pray that all will be overcome in the name of Christ’s love.

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