This was going to be Jonathan's third year at camp. As he packed his clothes, all he could think about was the ropes course. It's an obstacle course on ropes that hang about thirty-five feet above the ground. The ropes are attached to trees. You wear a safety harness attached to a safety wire above the course. This holds you in case you fall.
Jonathan had done the course before, but each time it took good balance and plenty of courage. At the finish he always felt he had really accomplished something important.
But on the first morning after he got to camp this summer, he didn't think much about the ropes. He felt afraid and alone without his family. He was at least fifteen hundred miles from his home, and there was no way he could change the situation. He began to cry.
One of the counselors took him to another staff member, who helped him call home. When Mom answered the phone, she heard a sad, tearful voice. Mom talked gently to Jonathan. Then she asked him if he remembered Daniel, who was thrown into the lions' den. This is one of Jonathan's favorite stories from the Bible. He had heard it in Christian Science Sunday School. So of course he remembered. Mom asked him, "Who closed the mouth of the lions?" Jonathan said he couldn't remember.
Mom joked with him a little and asked him if there were lions roaring in his thinking. She said the lions might be thoughts telling him loudly that he was in the wrong place, that he needed to go home in order to be happy and loved, and that he was going to have a miserable time at camp.
Because these thoughts were roaring so loudly, Mom asked Jonathan to be still so he could hear how God had closed the mouths of the lions when Daniel was in the den. Then she told him that when the king released Daniel from the den, Daniel told the king why the lions didn't eat him. Daniel said, "My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions' mouths, that they have not hurt me" (Dan. 6:22).
Jonathan had already learned what angels are. In Science and Health by Mary Baker Eddy, part of the explanation of angels is "God's thoughts passing to man" (p. 581). To stop his roaring lions, Jonathan could be like Daniel and listen to what God's angels were telling him. Jonathan became quiet. And then he heard God's thoughts telling him that he was safe, loved, protected.
He realized he was God's loved idea, so he could never be separated from the loving care and safety that God gives. God was with him right then, and His love would be there the whole time that Jonathan was at camp. God was always with him.
The lions stopped roaring!
You're probably wondering how Jonathan did on the ropes course that year. He liked it as much as ever. The camp had changed the way in which you leave the course when you are finished. The new way felt like a ride on a roller coaster. Jonathan loved it.
When Jonathan came home from camp, he couldn't wait to go back the next summer. He had had a blast! He told his mom, "Every time I go to camp, I'm going to make sure that I remember that God's angels are always with me."
No matter what, God's angels are with you, too.
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