Greetings from Camp Wapo, Ox Lake, & Wilderness Canoe Base!

Our 2022 theme TAKE HOLD is based on John 16:33. It is a powerful theme for these days and so affirming of God’s promises for us. The Bible study curriculum that our campers will experience has been created by three wonderfully gifted writers, theologians, and lovers of outdoor ministry.  We are so grateful to Kristen Capel, Sarah Clark, and Marc Olson for sharing their talents and gifts with us and for the thousands of kids and families who will come to camp this summer to experience TAKE HOLD.  We hope you enjoy this devotional trio based on our 2022 summer theme. 

I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble, but take hold! I have conquered the world. (John 16:33)

Bible Reading: Daniel 3

This story is about three friends, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who were working as servants in the palace of the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar. Nebuchadnezzar has been pretty cool to these Hebrew kids, mostly because they’re smart and talented. 

The crisis comes when the king decides to make a huge golden statue and commands everyone on earth to bow down and worship it every time they hear the sound of one of a huge number of musical instruments. Anyone who refuses to bow, the king says, will be thrown into a furnace of burning fire.

As faithful Hebrews, Daniel and his friends are bound to obey God’s commandments, and the first commandment is about having (and worshiping) no other gods. Some locals rat out Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and the king confronts them with an ultimatum: bow down now or into the fire you go.

The boys refuse. Their answer reveals their faith: “If our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire and out of your hand, O king, let him deliver us. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods and we will not worship the golden statue that you have set up.”

They are committed to obeying God’s commandment regardless of the trouble that may come their way. Faith is trust in God’s promise to be with us and for us. It doesn’t mean we won’t get hurt or suffer. These Hebrew boys understand this aspect of faith, and how it’s different from certainty. 

Then we find out what happens when the boys are hurled into the flames of the furnace–a furnace hot enough to kill the soldiers who threw them in. Instead of being burned to crisps, they’re instead joined by a mysterious fourth figure. To top it all off, they’re all unbound and free, even in the dangerous heart of the burning furnace. 

The king is so shocked and afraid that he changes his mind and changes his law. The boys are pulled from the fire unhurt. Not even the smell of fire stays on their clothes.

This is a story of resistance. It’s also a story that does resistance. It uses humor and repetition to show how clownish and ridiculous the king is – even as he’s dangerous. It shows how violent he is, and how even when confronted with the miracle of the boys’ salvation he still doesn’t “get it.” In this story, we see God’s more awesome power of presence. God joins us in the trouble. God accompanies us even in scary or hard times. God doesn’t abandon us when things get bad.    


  • What kinds of trouble does the world give you?
  • Who helps you in times of trouble?
  • What’s worth standing up for in your life? What might this cost you? What has it cost you so far?
  • How do we learn to be brave?
  • What does your faith help you do?
  • When have you most felt God’s presence?
  • Where do you hope God is present in and caring for the world right now?


God of prophets and kids and people like me, give me faith that is brave. Assure me of your presence when I’m scared. Back me up when I’ve gotten in too much trouble. Help me to stand up for what matters. Send your spirit to help me know when to cause good trouble. Amen.


Grounded in grace, may you care for this world.
Rooted in love, may your heart get bigger and braver.
Growing in faith, may you trust God’s promises.
And bless by all these gifts may you feed the hungry, bind up the brokenhearted, and bring joy to everyone you meet.