In the middle of the woods, God was there

The flag trip was going to be the highlight of my summer. I was attending a camp for Christian Scientists that is known for a three-day event involving a full-contact game of capture the flag. Each team hides a flag, suspending it between two trees, and the other teams try to capture it without getting caught.

As we do for many activities, my teammates and counselors and I approached this activity with prayer. I focused on Psalm 91 from the Bible, which begins with this comforting statement: “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” I really liked the idea that everything we were doing was in God’s care and protected by Him.

On the second day of the game, it was pouring rain. I spent a lot of time attempting to raid another team’s camp in order to capture their flag for my team. Although I had doubts about my ability to do this, I gathered my courage, snuck into the camp, and ended up scoring a flag. It was a victorious moment. But while I was climbing over a log on my way back to my camp, I pulled a muscle in my leg. I chose to ignore the pain and persevere with the game. But my leg continued to bother me.

Evening arrived, and I was eager to raid another camp and score for my team again, even though I was limping a little bit. I approached the boundaries of the other team’s camp by army-crawling through the woods. This required me to move very slowly and remain in a cramped, uncomfortable position. At one point, I had been crawling for so long, I was no longer sure where I was. None of the surroundings looked familiar. Was I lost?

While I was climbing over a log on my way back to my camp, I pulled a muscle in my leg. 

It was then that I remembered another psalm I’d been praying with that talks about how God leads us. It was reassuring to realize that instead of being afraid, I could trust God’s guidance even in the depths of the woods.

Continuing my sluggish progress toward the enemy camp, I saw a light. When I got closer, I noticed two people from the other team building a structure, which alerted me to the fact that I was near their flag. 

At first I was excited, but when I stood up behind a tree to figure out where the flag was, my leg started to hurt a lot. I was soaked, tired, and shivering from the rain. In that moment, I was so miserable that I even considered quitting the whole event. 

But in the midst of my frustration, that verse from the ninety-first Psalm came to thought again: “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” There I was, hiding in the shadows and feeling hopeless, when this passage came to my rescue by helping me realize that I could turn to God. No matter what the situation, God is always with me, guiding me and giving me what I need. I knew this included freedom and unlimited movement at every moment, since freedom and movement come from God and so are always mine as God’s expression. This helped change my focus from how my leg was feeling to how God was caring for me.

Since freedom and movement come from God, they are always mine as God’s expression.

As I was praying this way, I happened to look up at the tree I was hiding behind. To my surprise, I discovered a rope holding the team’s flag right above me. But even more exciting to me was when I realized that turning to God had brought freedom from every discomfort I’d been experiencing­—the pulled muscle and feeling cold from the rain. The pain in my leg had disappeared. 

That was one of the most fun and free nights I have ever experienced. I spent the rest of the night playing the game with joy and ease. My trust in God had led me to victory and physical freedom. I had a blast!

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