Students chatted and slept in turns as we made our way down the twisting roads. We had just been up north to do a concert, and were scheduled to be back by lunch time on Sunday. I started to get excited as each turn in the road brought us closer to school and to my Sunday afternoon. Suddenly, my heart rate blasted through the roof as the bus slowed down and began to pull off the road. Even before the driver announced our change of plans I could see the 25 passenger bus waiting to pick up all the seniors. “Seniors, you have 10 minutes to get off the bus and load the twenty-five,” Mr. James’ voice over the intercom confirmed my fears. I stepped off of the bus in a daze and met screaming girls streaming off of their bus. Casually I sauntered onto the twenty-five with several other guys. There goes my Sunday afternoon, I mused.
Days of hunger, cold, sleeping in shelters made from forest floor debris, class bonding, and a myriad of other activities flew by. Every morning and evening there was a deep devotional thought shared around the fire. What are the benefits of country living? What is the value of prayer in a survival situation? Are we as prepared for Jesus’ return as we were for this insignificant survival situation?
Days later I stumbled into my room, sleep deprived, calorie deprived, and with the whiff a decent four-day-funk. We made it. We were done. We had successfully come through the rite of passage all seniors take. Everyone looks forward to this event, whether with fear, trepidation, or with a haughty “Bring it on!” attitude. Now the long awaited trip is complete. Moments later in the shower as I shed the grime—layer by layer—I reveled in the fond memories of our experience. We survived! We didn’t just come back alive – we were enriched. We learned, we grew, and our characters developed in ways we hadn’t even expected.
I grimaced at the flies buzzing around my soiled clothes and filthy pack lying in the hall way. Would I ever do that again? I can’t answer for everyone, though, I can say: my pack is ready. More importantly, in the ultimate trip—the second coming of Jesus—we need to prepare our packs; we need to allow Jesus to change our hearts so that we can be ready for His coming to take us home with Him for eternity.