It has been an especially long summer. I found myself waiting and longing to take a much-needed family vacation. My longings grew as I scrolled 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.
I found myself wrestling repeatedly with discontentment. I wanted what someone else had. Without recognizing the true culprit, I now can see that I thought a vacation would make me happy. I thought it would make me feel fulfilled.
Maybe it isn’t a vacation for you. Maybe 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. Our Creator has made us this way. However, what God intended is that we would 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. 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.”
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.
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 sitting on the beach having some fun. Our air conditioning unit went out back at home and we had to deal with finding a repairman. One of our kiddos is complaining of back pain and definitely not feeling well. The toilet in our vacation rental sort of exploded all over my feet, meanwhile we scurried to deter further damage. 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. It seemed surreal. Like a movie scene. 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.
I see now that my eyes were deterred and side-tracked by longing for the things of this world. I had built my hopes on falling sand, rather than keeping them steadfast on the Lord. In hindsight, I didn’t really need a vacation. 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. It doesn’t seem fair that things are turning out this way. You could easily wallow in self-pity. May I remind you today (myself included), God’s ways are always better. He is turning our attention back to Him. He is making a way in the impossible. He desires for us to turn to Him with our needs. 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
What is your heart longing for? Whatever it is, God wants you to want Him more.