We have been back from vacation for a while and I have to admit it has been a little rough. No, life is not that much different. But my attitude is a little less than desirable. I never like to see vacations end, but this seemed a lot worse.
The vacation was good. We saw many things we had never seen before. The campground just outside of Hudson Wisconsin was very private and uncrowded. The weather was warm but only a few hours of rain. And yet, as the final day approached, I became more and more unsettled with returning to my real life.
My wife pointed it out to me after having to deal with me for too long. She warned me my attitude was heading in a dangerous direction. I was headed for trouble if something did not change. And I knew she was right. But it seemed that like the creek pictured above, I was being swept along into something that was inevitable.
Years ago this would have been a dry drunk. In any 12-Step Program these words set off alarm bells. In 2018, for me anyway, I came to the realization that I am acting more like Pharaoh during the time of the captivity of Israelites.
I was hardening my heart to all the wonderful blessings that God continues to send my way. I was telling him that I did not trust him to handle the difficult parts of my life. Whatever decisions that need to be made, I need to struggle with them on my own using my abilities.
Well, God in his grace does not let me wander away too far without giving me the opportunity to break down the barriers that keep me from him. He used not only the persistent message from my all too wise wife, but also some of the photos from our vacation to unveil my problem and point me towards the solution.
The last day of our vacation, we were sitting by the falls (pictured above) in Willow Creek State Park wondering what to do. Then God took over. Two artists showed up, set up their equipment, and began to paint the same scene we were admiring.
Two persons appeared and began to fish just to the left of where we were seated.
And they actually pulled a few fish from below the falls.
Then we noticed ropes hanging from the rock walls rising above the falls. In a short time, we watched a s a few people rappelled their way down to the shore of the rapids. There were a couple of times when we wondered if one of the climbers would actually make it down. But all stayed safe and it was quite entertaining.
These are not spectacular events in our world. In fact, some might see them as common. But as I returned to my everyday life, I failed to remember how my wife and I marveled about how good God was to us on that last day. I quickly forgot how God had answered our wondering about what to do. I forgot the words of 2 Corinthians 9:8 God is able to make all grace overflow to you, so that in all things, at all times, having all that you need, you will overflow in every good work. EHV
But most of all I failed to really respond to the most important blessing I will ever receive–forgiveness of my sins. Jesus died for all of my sins and set me right with God. I did not deserve it yet because of his grace, I am going to heaven.
Things would be a whole lot different if my response to how I viewed my life was:
“I need to go back to work”–Jesus gave me eternal life which is everything I need.
The first night back I need to go to lead a Church Council meeting–Jesus gave me eternal life which is everything I need.
“Vacation was great but now it is over”–Jesus gave me eternal life which is everything I need.
“Work is not always easy and certainly not fun”–Jesus gave me eternal life which is everything I need.
“But I feel really depressed because of all of this”–Jesus gave me eternal life which is everything I need.
To some, that answer may seem a little simplistic and rote in nature. But let’s be honest about certain realities. I get excited over football, books, making a good meal, grandkids and days off. These are all wonderful parts of my life–here on earth and for only a short while when compared to eternity. Sometimes I focus too much on the blessings and not on the Blesser. (Yes, I know that is only a word in my vocabulary)
I once listened to a graduation speech by Chuck Swindoll in which he spoke of the challenge of trusting God in tough times. His whole point was that the more that humans advance in technology, the easier it is miss God’s hand in the solution for our problems. We find answers on our own which sometimes means not making the right choices. We try every solution we can think of and if things are not resolved we may even utter “I even prayed.”
I need to trust God to change things in my life and in the way I feel. I need to avoid trying to solve things my way because it feels good. God is in charge of the results. He has my eternal future already planned. When I am dissatisfied with the way my life is going, I need to step back and see what God has planned. Sure, I need to do whatever I can but always following a path guided by His word, the Bible. (A have a lot of “needs” I guess)
For I know that no matter what, he knows my life–past, present and future. I guess I could say he knows what the finished product looks like.
This is a simple song for all those times I forget the countless blessing I have from God only because he loved me.
Thanks for coming here and I hope you come back sometime. I will wait you.