It has been an especially long summer and it is easy to lose sight of hope. Nonetheless, I️ find myself waiting and longing to take a much-needed family vacation. Also, my longings grow as I scroll through pictures on Facebook and Instagram of friends and family, jealously wishing I could be where they are.
On the beach.
In the mountains.
Anywhere but home.
Longing For What We Do Not Have
Unfortunately, I️ find myself wrestling repeatedly with discontentment. I want what someone else has. Without recognizing the true culprit, I now see that I think a vacation will make me happy. For some reason, I️ think it will make me feel fulfilled.
Maybe it isn’t a vacation for you. Possibly it is a longing of another kind. To be married. Or have a child. Or get the job of your dreams. We have all been wired with dreams and desires. Besides, Our Creator has made us this way. However, what God intends is that we will long after Him with all of our hearts and not the things of this world.
When our eyes wander to the things we do not have we become angry, frustrated, jealous, and downright mad. Furthermore, we allow selfish mind-talk to go on in our minds, which truly doesn’t get us anywhere. “Hey, you deserve this (fill in the blank). Look at everyone else. If you had it, you would be satisfied.”
Recognize the Tactics of the Enemy
Funny how the Enemy’s tactics haven’t changed over the years. Maybe they don’t need to because they are still effective, working to deter and distract us from the Lord. Like Eve, getting us in all kinds of trouble.
As for me, It is the last week before school resumes and we finally were able to get away. However, day 1 of our vacation seemed more like a disaster than a vacay away from home. First, our air conditioning unit broke and we had to deal with finding a repairman. To make things worse, one of our kiddos is complaining of back pain and not feeling well. Then, the toilet in our vacation rental exploded all over my feet. In my mind, I thought, “Everything will be okay when I finally feel the ocean breeze.”
As we made our way to the beach, the longing to wiggle my toes in the sand intensified. I could sense the cool breeze blowing against my face and the waves gently touching my skin. After loading our crew into the car, we had a few miles to trek by car. But our trip abruptly came to an end. We weren’t rear-ended by just anyone. It was a hit and run. You could see the fear in the man’s face as he sped off with the police on his tail. Honestly, it seemed surreal. Like a movie scene. The only problem…it was real.
After waiting to file a police report, I thought this ordeal had come to an end. We did have a lovely time at the beach, thankful to be alive. But apparently, our time of testing wasn’t quite over. One of our boys jumped and tripped over some rocks, and sprained his ankle pretty bad.
All We Need is Jesus
As a result, I️ see now that my eyes were deterred and side-tracked by longing for the things of this world. Likewise, I️ had built my hopes on falling sand, rather than keeping them steadfast on the Lord. In hindsight, I didn’t need a vacation. Most importantly, all I ever need is Jesus, my Lord!
Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand.And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.” Matthew 7:24-27
Maybe today you are struggling to believe that God is on your side. As you look around at your set of circumstances, you wonder if God even cares. That is to say, it doesn’t seem fair that things are turning out this way. In other words, you could easily wallow in self-pity. However, may I remind you today (myself included), God’s ways are always better. Albeit, He is turning our attention back to Him. Making a way in the impossible. Turning our desires to Him. Above all, He loves you regardless of what you think of Him.
His love is unfailing and unconditional.
God is for you, not against you.
It is a promise.
Now it is up to us to believe!
My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus Christ, my righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand,
All other ground is sinking sand.
by Edward Mote
Where is your hope? Is it focused on God? Or the things of this world?