Campers put up with all of that, particularly tent campers, and they have a fine old time. They understand going in what to expect, especially since they are paying a fraction of the amount of even a moderately priced motel. Even when the weather is dismal, they seldom complain. You take your chances when you live outdoors for a week. Isn’t it interesting that the same circumstances can produce both happy people and unhappy people?
The only time we ever wrote a letter of complaint in 30 years of camping was last year. Even campers in a state park campground have every right to expect a well-drained campsite. When it rained our last night there, not only did the site not drain well, it collected water from all the surrounding sites. We woke up in a pool of water. The tent floor billowed up around us when we took a step. At least it was waterproof, or the thousands of dollars worth of Keith’s hearing paraphernalia that we keep charging in the floor overnight (since there is no furniture in a tent) would have been ruined.
But we didn’t complain because of the rain. We didn’t complain because it was cold enough for a foot high icicle to form under the water spigot. We didn’t complain because the wind blew our light pole over, or the bathhouse only had two shower stalls for the whole campground. That’s what you expect when you camp. At least there was a bathhouse with hot running water and a heater in it!
It doesn’t take much to be a happy camper. Maybe that’s why God has always warned his people about a life of ease. Take care lest… when you have eaten and are full and have built good houses and live in them, and when your herds and flocks multiply and your silver and gold is multiplied and all that you have is multiplied, then your heart be lifted up, and you forget the LORD your God…(Deuteronomy 8:11-14).
Our lives on this earth are often depicted as camping. We are sojourners. We are just passing through. Or are we? How much do we take for granted in these days of luxury? Every so often I remind myself to thank God for the running water, for the electricity, for the air conditioning. I have lost them often enough, and for long enough at times, to remember that they don’t just happen; they aren’t “inalienable rights”—they are blessings.
Ask people today what is on their list of necessities and it will scare you to death. An easy life makes a soft people. Self-discipline disappears. The ability to endure hardship is practically non-existent. Complaining becomes an art form, and my problems are always someone else’s fault. The worst result is the pride that causes us to forget God, Prov 30:8,9.
The results of trials and afflictions, on the other hand, are good, Deut 8:15,16; Psa 126:5,6; 1 Pet 1:6-8; 4:13,14. They make us stronger; they remind us who is in control, and build our faith and dependence upon God. They remind us of the love God has for his children. I know, O Lord, that your rules are righteous, that in faithfulness you have afflicted me, Psa 119:75.
A parent who never says no, who never makes his child earn anything with his own hard work, who always gets him out of trouble instead of allowing him to reap the consequences of his mistakes, is not a faithful, loving parent. These things build character. Wealth doesn’t. Luxury doesn’t. Anyone who “needs” that to be happy will never in this life be a happy camper.
As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life. 1 Timothy 6:17-19