This is a very slightly edited version of a post I originally wrote around this time last year. It’s something I still feel strongly about.
I went to Spring Harvest over half a lifetime ago. (For those who don’t know, SH is a big Christian camp-type thing that happens at Easter in the UK). I absolutely loved it and swore that I’d go again. As yet, I’ve not returned, but one day, hopefully, I will. But anyway, that’s not the point of this post – I’m already drifting off track and it’s only the first paragraph.
The point is holiday romances. On that same trip to Spring Harvest, all those years ago, a friend of mine tumbled into a holiday romance. I think it might have started at the sleeping-in-cardboard-boxes-to-get-an-idea-of-how-rough-sleeping-feels. It may even have started before that, and the cardboard boxes were just another excuse to see each other. But anyhow, love blossomed rapidly (as it has to on holiday – time is short). I can’t for the life of me remember her name, and it’s entirely possible that he can’t either. But for those few days, and presumably a while after, love was in the air. Needless to say, it all fizzled out. I guess these are the likely stages such relationships go through:
Boy goes on holiday
Girl goes on holiday to same place
Boy and girl meet
Boy and girl like each other
Boy and girl hang out together and decide they’re in love
Boy and girl exclude their ‘real life’ friends on holiday with them because they’re so in love
Holiday ends (boy and/or girl may cry at this point)
Boy and girl continue to communicate (in those days, it was letter or phone call, now it’s more likely to be facebook/Twitter/texts etc.)
Boy and girl get a bit bored of the effort required to maintain communication
Boy and girl stop communicating
The holiday romance, in a nutshell.
Some years ago, I realised with genuine sadness that sometimes people have the same holiday romance with God. It might go a little like this (I just used ‘boy’ because I am one … the same applies for girls!)
Boy goes on holiday.
God also happens to be there (not much choice, with the whole ‘omnipresent’ thing he’s got going on)
Boy likes the music/activities (or possibly just the girls!)
Boy discovers that God is the common link that joins the activities/music/girls together
Boy meets God (God’s pretty darn chuffed at this point, I might add)
Boy falls in love and commits himself to God
Boy’s friends who are already committed to God get all excited for him
Boy goes back to the ‘real world’ and makes some effort to keep up his relationship with God
Boy notices that life committed to God isn’t as much fun in the real world as it was at camp
Boy gets bored of the effort of keeping up his relationship with God
Boy stops communicating
So, if you’ve been on camp this year, please pray for any people who became Christians there. They need to keep it up. The flash-in-a-pan holiday romance isn’t what God’s after. He’s after long-term commitment. That is, after all, what He’s offered us from the very start.
And if you became a Christian at camp this year, then that’s absolutely fabulous. I’m not exaggerating to say that that is genuinely the most exciting piece of news someone could give me. Make sure you keep it up. It won’t always be as exciting as it was at camp. The music in the church you go to may be positively dire. The preacher might not sound as excited at the people on stage at camp. But God’s commitment to you will never, ever drift. If He loved you enough to send His Son to die for you, you can’t possibly claim that He’s anything other than utterly devoted to you.
Get rooted in Him. Make sure you’ve got firm foundations and build your relationship with Him for all it’s worth. A solid relationship with Him can improve every other relationship in your life. Put Him first. And look out for each other too. We’re supposed to be a big family, after all, so I’m just relying on people to look at for me like I would look out for my brother.
It’s a great adventure to be on!