As a child, I spent my summers at camp. Not like ordinary kids who go to camp for a week, though. My dad, a school teacher by trade, had his summers off so for four years we spent every day from Memorial Day through Labor Day at Portage Lake Covenant Bible Camp where my dad managed the camp. We would make the 6 hour ride up through Michigan (always stopping in Cadillac to see the gas station that had a real bear in a cage on display) and get there days before anyone else. We would open up and air out the cabins, clean up the grounds, and prepare for the arrival of first the staff and then the weekly campers.
Every morning and every evening for 3 months each year, I got to sit in (and often participate in) chapel where we learned the old camp songs and heard speaker after speaker tell us about God’s love through puppets, memory work, games, illustrations, and bible teaching. It was here that my love for God and His Word was watered as it took root, and it was here that I learned to memorize scripture through song.
One of my favorites was a song simply called, “Psalm 100”, and with that song in my repertoire, I had a Psalm of praise memorized for the rest of my life. Not surprisingly, we never sang any songs about Psalm 102, however. “Make a joyful noise unto the Lord,” is a much more enjoyable lyric than, “my bones burn like glowing embers.” Yet God saw fit to put these two opposite cries of the human heart next to each other in the list of Psalms.
This is one of the reasons I tell anyone who asks me about an emotion they are feeling to go read the Psalms. In this blessed and simple book of poetry and verse, you can find most every emotion known to humankind, and you can find it not just as an expression of your heart but as a prayer lifted to our God who cares about every emotion you feel.