This was the pay-off! It always was. The tumultuous years of hard work and heartbreak melted away as I watched our guests walk back up the hill to their cars.
A few days before they had trickled in one car at a time. Some had nervously checked out the unfamiliar, rustic setting, not sure what to expect next. For many this was their first retreat, and for most it was the first time since attending camp as children that they had stayed in a communal bunkhouse, much less bedded down on a real bunk bed. The first night always requires a little bit of an adjustment!
Young and not so young, they had come for different reasons, but with a common goal. They shared the innate sense that there is more to life than meets the eye. Each in their own way was searching for significance in the eternal sense.
Hope, answered prayers, a new life, healing, grace, peace... the list of needs for the human heart is endless and impossible for mere humans to meet. No spouse, BFF, child, sibling, parent, or pastor can meet our every need. Our hope is only in the Lord and that is what people come here seeking. And He is here to meet them, every weekend, just as he promised so many years ago. He meets them and meets their needs as He alone can do
Twenty, thirty, forty, sometimes seventy or eighty people are here on any given weekend. When the time comes for them head home, and I watch all that positive energy surge up the hill on it's way back out into the world - I am incredibly blessed. It's like Cross Roads Retreat is a giant pump, focusing a languid river of lives on eternal purposes, and then pumping all that positive energy back out into the world - weekend after weekend after weekend.
My human nature causes me to want to know what works the Holy Spirit has done in their lives. I crave to know what if anything has changed about them and how those changes might affect their families, jobs, churches or communities. It is a normal human desire to want to have absolute proof of the fruits of our labors. But, I will never know, because that is not God's plan. He has only called me to nurture seeds already planted. The harvest is not mine. It is His. Our ways are not His ways.
"I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow." 1 Corinthians 3:6-7 NIV