Reflections from Vacation

Hey friends! I’m back! Did you miss me? (for those of you who didn’t miss me, no sweat) If you aren’t on my email list, you may be asking: “Back from what?” Well, as you’ve probably gathered from the title of this blog post, my family and I were on vacation. We spent three weeks away from our normal responsibilities and it was so nice just to be able to relax and let off the gas pedal a little bit. Even though our vacation was definitely a nice reprieve, I won’t deny it, there were a few bumps along the way. It is my belief, however, that God uses all our experiences, even those little “bumps”, to teach us things about Himself and His Word. As you can imagine, this vacation was no exception. 

God Always Provides

Rewind the tape a couple months and you will find my family and I longing for a vacation but with no way to actually have one. Number one, money was an issue. Number two, my mom and I’s chronic health struggles made it difficult to travel anywhere. At the time, these and other obstacles were looming hurdles that seemed to make a vacation impossible. 

It’s around this time that the wonderful hand of God began to intervene. First, he provided us with a free place to stay in someone’s home while they were away traveling. We had never met these people before, yet they were kind enough to open up their house to us. God also made a way for us to travel across the country without much expense, and dealt with some of the other challenges created by our health struggles. We were able to leave our yapping, peeing dog behind in Georgia, something that we didn’t think we would be able to do. One thing after the other was ticked off the list, and by the time we were supposed to leave, we were ready. There was no miracle, no parting of the red sea, just one ordinary event after the other that somehow all resulted in a way for us to enjoy some time away from the grind of normal life. Destination? Arizona. 

Friends, I’d like to emphasize for you the providing hand of God. Maybe it seems like our vacation wasn’t a big deal– but if you had been there in the months leading up to our departure, you would have experienced first hand all the many, many obstacles that came our way. You would have also experienced how God pushed over every one, clearing a path to Arizona. 

Left to Right: My older brother Ethan, Me, My younger brother Elijah

We didn’t have to go on vacation. It wasn’t a life or death situation, it wasn’t a crisis, but God provided for us anyway. How much more, then, will God provide for us when we do face a crisis? How much more will God provide for you in every challenge you face? Now, of course, this doesn’t mean that God will make a way for everything we want to happen, but it does mean that when it is His will to accomplish something, it will happen– no matter what. That’s comforting, isn’t it?

God’s Plans Don’t Always Match Up With Our Plans 

As I’m sure you know, Arizona is pretty much on the other side of the country from Georgia, which means a three day road trip. By the time we arrived in Arizona, we had already seen some breathtaking views and listened to, “Life is a Highway ” from Cars as we drove on Route 66. The first two days in Arizona were great, too. We saw some more beautiful landscapes, viewed some Indian ruins, and had a promising plan of what we would do in the upcoming weeks. That was when things went wrong. Remember said health struggles? It had something to do with that. On the fourth day of our stay, my mom got really, really sick. It was clear we couldn’t stay. We had to go home. 

Tuzigoot (Indian Ruins)

We got up early the next day and packed our van as fast as we could.

And then we left. That was it. Just like that. 

We squeezed our three day road trip into two days to get mom home as soon as possible, which meant that Minecraft was my best friend and we arrived at our house at 1:00 in the morning. We had only been in Arizona for four days.

We had planned to stay in Arizona for two weeks. We had planned to go to the Grand Canyon. We had planned, we had planned, we had planned. But things didn’t go according to plan– our plan at least. The best verse I can think of that applies to our situation is Proverbs 16:9:

The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.

We can plan all we want, we can design our lives years into the future and make detailed itineraries for days in advance, but in the end, it is God’s design for our lives that gets the final word. So what does this mean, then? Are we to be forever anxious, desperately clinging to our idea of how life should go? Should we be stressed and worried that, “God’s going to ruin everything”? Of course not! For the Christian, Proverbs 16:9 is meant to be an encouragement. It is an assurance that nothing, not man’s schemes, our own follies, or Satan’s distractions, can hinder God’s will from being fulfilled. Of course, this wouldn’t really be a comfort if God’s will for us was for evil, but one glance at Romans 8:28 will tell you that God’s will for our lives is good. 

Nevertheless, that’s the temptation, isn’t it? To micromanage our lives, to fight to stay in control. Oftentimes we raise our fists against God and His design. That was certainly the temptation for us when we were rumbling down the driveway, away from our vacation home, nearly a week and half earlier than expected. Part of me was glad to go home (what can I say, I’m a homebody), but the other part of me was confused and upset that once again, my family’s plans were being turned on their head. We can often be like toddlers, can’t we? We want what we want and we get mad when we don’t get it. But as we left Arizona, I had to remind myself that this was only happening because God had ordained it to happen. Like toddlers, no matter how much we kick and flail and scream and cry, it doesn’t change the fact that we are not, and will never be, the ones in control. We must learn to pray as Jesus prayed just hours before his crucifixion,

Nevertheless, not my will, but yours be done.

Luke 22:42b

God’s Plans Don’t Always Make Sense To Us

Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!

Romans 11:33

Paul hit the nail on the head in this verse: God’s wisdom is far beyond our own, which means that everything he does won’t always make sense to us. Why would he provide a way for us to go to Arizona only to bring us home after four days? Why indeed. In fact, my family and I may never know the answer to that question– but that’s okay. We don’t need to know everything, because God knows everything and God is good. 

Whenever we face confusing times, we must remember who our God is. He is a God of great wisdom that surpasses our understanding. He is also a God who loves His children and who will never forsake His own. Coupled together, He is a God who has a plan for your life that is far more wonderful than anything you could dream up for yourself– and sometimes that means our vacations are cut short. Other times it means tragedy strikes and our lives are turned upside down. Our plans for the future are never assured, but God’s love for us is. 

It’s true, this vacation didn’t go as expected, but we were still able to enjoy some downtime and continue our period of rest from the convenience of our own home. Now that our vacation has come to an end, however, it’s time to jump back into the thick of things. I’ll be returning back to my normal blogging schedule and gearing up for school to start. 

In the upcoming weeks I’ll also be preparing to launch a new addition to my blog, so keep your eyes peeled for some new– things. 😉 That’s all I’m going to say for now, but if you are on my email list, watch your inbox for more info. 

March on Christian Soldier! 

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