“You are the highway I travel, because I watched You carve streets out of sand and gravel. I gave you brokenness – You gave me innocence, and now this road leads to glory. You are my deepest longing, and so I see You everywhere; it’s You I’m chasing after. I’m captivated by who You are and how You move. I’ll follow You forever.” ~Audrey Assad, For Love of You
The sun is slowing setting behind the snow-covered mountains here in Sinaia, Romania. The shadows have been long for a while, and the chill in the air is teasing with the radiators in our hotel. If I could slow time down just a bit right now, I would. I’d have the shadows hang a few more hours, watch the slivers of hazy sunlight shine through the windows and dance on the floor. And I would take another long walk, to take in more of the common place. Because that’s where I see Christ in colors so rich and bold.
Of course, I’ve seen Him at WinterCamp 2011 – transformation has taken place in the lives of so many teenagers. There has been surrender, courage, healing. Tonight, our last night together, will likely be the richest night of all. I know the music will be louder, the prayers more passionate, the preaching more powerful. But this camp, like all camps, is merely a stepping stone. Life for the teens begins the moment the vans pull back into their villages in Western Romania. It is then the kids will step out of the special moments and into the common place.
So what is the common place? It’s the every day. It’s the life we live in the “in-between.” And it is easy to be overwhelmed by its sameness – to allow the color to drain from our vision as we become forgetful of our place in eternity.
This afternoon, several of us took a long walk through the streets of this mountain village. And it’s there I was reminded of the common place each of our teens will experience soon. There were well-appointed homes and primitive farms standing side-by-side. There was laundry drying on lines, and meals being prepared, and old folks sitting on porches watching the cars drive by. We passed men working on roads and women working behind cash registers. Today was like yesterday in the village. And tomorrow has every chance of being like today.
But through the light of eternity, the common place becomes uncommon, and the “in-betweens” become opportunity for God’s glory to shine brightly. There were prayers whispered for the families we passed, and smiles given to wrinkled faces. The common places we walked may have been formed of dull gravel and sand, but in Christ they became colorful highways of peace, of love, of hope.
I pray for each teenager, that their common places will be made uncommon. I pray they will see beyond the every day. In each of their villages, there are people to love, prayers to be whispered, smiles to be shared, and hope to be given. I pray they allow the gravel and sand to be transformed into highways. For God’s glory. For their joy. For the good of Romania.