Setting Up Camp on the Fence

I do not like camping. I like the idea of going away with my family and spending time with them. But I do not like camping.

Some of those reasons are hygiene-related. Unless I am on a well-equipped campsite with modern and well-kept facilities, then it’s ok. I don’t like walking across a field to take a shower, but I’ll do it for the kids.

Other reasons are nature – related. I’m one of those arachnophobes. Spiders make me feel a bit sick. Even if they’re really small. Once, when I was in Canada, I sat by the back door of the house I was staying in. All tall trees and lake-front. Took my shoes, was about to lace them up and spotted a movement out of the corner of my eyes. Little leaf moving, I thought. Put shoe on. Disturbed the leaves and suddenly the movement was electric! Spiders, teeny bodies, HUGE legs, were everywhere. Almost undetectable until they moved. Wow, you’ve never seen me move so fast. Even now, typing this, indoors, I’m scanning the room – are they here? Are they watching? Are they on me?

Yeah, me and nature have a thin relationship.

Other reasons – well, I won’t bore you with the whole need-a-hair-dryer-where-do-your-straighteners-go vanity that makes camping the least desirable holiday option for me.

But recently I’ve felt this real unrest stirring in my heart. I have felt that somewhere along the way, I’ve taken up camping. I’m camping on the fence. Yeah, me who doesn’t even like camping.

Picture it. Ridiculously silly and precarious as it is, somehow, I’ve managed to make fence-dwelling a far too comfortable part of my life. What things will we do to make ourselves comfortable?

I live in Scotland, and I’ve been here during a really significant day in Scottish – indeed British –history. I live in a democratic country where we are given the right to make decisions about our government. For that we are certainly blessed.

As a woman, I have inherited the right to vote from those who went before me, fighting for equality. I live in a place where my family and I have innumerable freedoms, relative safety, education, clean water, food on the table and health care. I can speak openly and plainly, I have that right. I can worship where I choose because I have religious freedom. For all these things I am grateful.

There has been strength and passion in both campaigns here in Scotland; sometimes the narrative has been eloquent and reassuring, sometimes it has been vitriolic and aggressive. Sometimes, what was seemingly a straightforward choice between YES and NO was confusing and difficult and impossible to choose between.

Often, it was easy to sit on the fence. Bide more time. Look for more answers, more suggestions, more explanation that would help in making a decision easier.

And now…well the outcome of our democratic right to make a choice has been made. I do not have a genie in a bottle, I do not have a fairy godmother and I have no crystal ball capacity to determine whether or not the outcome of the Scottish Referendum was the right one.

But it’s certainly made me think. It’s made me wonder about where my trust lies, and whose hands I really believe my future is in. It’s made me think about how easily I can sit on the fence in every aspect of my life, adopting mediocrity and safety as a way of life. But it has made me go to my Bible and it has reminded me that despite any referendum or election outcome, despite any triumphs or losses in the world of secular government, I have God.

I have One who knows the future – a future that is already written. One who does not need any earthly government to see that His plans come to pass. One who does not need a politician, a vote or a referendum to see to it that what He wishes to be fulfilled will be.

And for that I am most grateful.

But where do I go from here? How do I, personally, move forward in a world of chaos and disorder, disappointments and triumphs? How do I navigate my way through being part of momentous decisions, feeling like I’m not just sitting on the fence, but I’ve taken my tent and I’ve set up camp on the fence. And I don’t like camping!

This One I speak about, this One who knows the future – He has given me a commission. I have a job to do by the one whose hands crafted the universe. This exceeds, surpasses, outweighs and outclasses anything I can do for, with or by the side of any secular, earthly government. In fact, I cannot rely on any government, on men and women whose promises are cheap and lies are fluent and fast. But I can rely on Him.

titus 2 11-14


He has told me to:

Give to the poor and be generous to them ~ Matthew 19:21, Proverbs 19:17

Help those in need ~ 1 John 3:17-18

Look to the interests of others ~ Philippians 2:4

Be kind, tender-hearted and forgiving ~ Ephesians 4:32

Never grow weary of doing good ~ Galatians 6:9-10

Look after widows and orphans ~ James 1:27

Proclaim the Gospel ~ Mark 16:15


Wherever I live, this is what is required of me.

Whoever I vote for, this is what is required of me.

However I articulate my earthly identity, this is what is required of me.

There is no room for a tent on this fence. I’m either in the Lord’s Army or I’m not; I’m either committed to the cause of Christ or I’m not. I’m not even a permanent resident here on earth, let alone in any particular nation – I am a sojourner, travelling through. My soul will spend eternity with the souls of other believers, with no national dividing lines.

It’s time for me to pack up my tent on the fence. Disassemble camp and jump.

Whatever happens in the political spheres of our time, I need to keep my eyes on the work the Lord has given me. To give, help, take care of, look to, do good to, those even on my doorstep who are in need. To do these things for the Lord and because these are the things he requires. For Him. In His Name.

Grace and Love

Helen x


  1. Well done Helen. That fence is creaking! The biblical commands to care for the poor etc are how we should govern OURSELVES. I have not been camping much ,but was surprised at how much I DID like it. I dont mind insects but I really dont like house flies at all. X


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