As I began writing this blog, my family was embarking on Spring Break. My first choice would have been warm sun, soft sand, being served healthy meals I wasn’t responsible to plan, shop for or prepare. But since we only have a couple of years before our oldest heads to college, we are trying to maximize the number of states we visit, plus try some new adventures along the way. I’m excited for our family time together. Sure, we will push each other’s buttons, yes there will be moments of wanting to be home with separate bedrooms and bathrooms to provide elbow space, but if this trip is anything like past getaways, our week of silliness will become the memories that are retold for years to come.
Are you smiling right now, remembering the endless games of shouting “Marco” and “Polo” before diving deep beneath each other in the local swimming pool? Or your flashbacks might begin when you encounter a musty scent, that welcoming smell you breathed in while opening the screen door of your family’s cabin rental. Even if your memories aren’t good, I bet there is a portion of your heart that still prompts you to try and rekindle togetherness with siblings.
Why are we drawn to family time? Because God created a yearning in each of us for closeness with our loved ones. He decided to rescue the world by using Families. Adam and Eve’s oldest boys didn’t do so well, but youngest Seth’s birth line leads us to a reset with Noah’s family, and ultimately to Abraham and Sarah, who have more descendants than the stars in the vast summer sky (Genesis 15:5). Family is important to God. He desires for us to spend time together. I cherish these days not interrupted by school, work, friends, and sports. These hours allow a deeper understanding of each other, follow-up conversations, and observations of what, maybe even whom, is important in each others’ lives right now. As I have gotten to know God, He reveals more and more of His playful side, displaying His grandeur in His Creation, causing impromptu giggling, and pushing us to try new adventures. Why? Because God delights in being with us, His family.
The LORD directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives.
Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the LORD holds them by the hand.
Psalm 37:23-34 (NLT)
Off we went, with an adventure awaiting us in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains of New Mexico. And boy, did we stumble… and slip and slide across a frozen lake, but we didn’t fall! Instead of the tropical weather I was pining for, we awoke our second day to a snow blizzard with 60 miles per hour gale force winds (I couldn’t even open my eyes for the picture). Which was absolutely perfect for the adventure d’ jour – Ice Fishing. I’ve never walked on a frozen lake before, let alone sat in a non-heated hut, casting a fishing line into frozen water beneath. It was cold and provided the most breathtaking aquarium view, with the rainbow trout and brook trout appearing fluorescent and polka-dotted in their dark environment. And God showed His humor by pulling a joke on the boys. By allowing the pink lures to catch the most fish, reeled in by my daughter and me!
Fun isn’t necessarily easy. It typically entails pushing yourself out of a comfort zone (warm cabin to a cold hut with a blizzard raging outside), to try something new (gently jigging the line, hooking the fish, reeling it in), but once you taste the success of the accomplishment (in our case literally, chef made it into ceviche), your innermost being will desire exploring and envisioning new adventures.
On our last morning, we hiked to a gazebo high above the lodge. As we admired the majestic views of the southern Rocky Mountains, we discovered a cache box. We decided to leave a secret note for friends who would arrive the following week. We were giddy deciding what to write and how to encourage them to come find it, without giving our secret away. As I hiked down, I thought of all the secret glimpses and surprises God leaves along the way for us to discover. He too is giddy and whimsical, waiting for us to stop in our tracks and admire the glimpses He has planted of our future home, Heaven.
He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart;
yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. Ecclesiastes 3:11
God created everything on, above, around Earth, and us to reflect His image. Because of this, we have an internal yearning to be in eternity with Him. John Burke, author of “Imagine Heaven” summarizes Isaiah 65:17-25: “God tells prophet Isaiah His holy city will be a place of beauty and joy, with plants and trees, vineyards and fruit, mountains and valleys, where all of creation finally will live in harmony. As we intuitively know it should be.” It will be just like Earth – but without sin, without tears, without death. Plus, we will be surrounded by loving Believers, from every culture, every skin tone (Revelation 7:9), with whom we’ll be excited to talk, laugh, and live together. Heaven is where true family and our fullest adventures await!
Have you been surprised, or interrupted by God? Maybe it is time to get to know the playful side of our Father. He is funny and available and wants to spend time with you.
As I thaw out from our adventures and put the finishing touches on this blog, I recognize not everyone in the world is experiencing fun and joy: COVID 19 lingers as new variants emerge. Russia has invaded Ukraine and a significant number of people are fleeing for safety. There are increases in mental illness cases and misuse of substances. Today, and each day since He was here on Earth, there is a necessity for accepting Jesus into your life. Can you envision what could change if all our friends follow in God’s Word? I’m prayerful all will accept His invitation for eternal life as part of His true family. Come join me on the ride of this lifetime and forever!
Please pray with me –
Lord I am in awe of the majestic creation You artfully provided for us, as well as the day-to-day, stop in our track visuals of fiery pink sunrises and cooing dove birds, to crisp cool evenings, enormous harvest moons, and owls hooting good night. Thank You for the fun You bring into relationships and the laughter that results. There is nothing boring about You. For those who aren’t feeling Your joy right now, Daddy could You please give them a secret glimpse of all You have in store in Heaven? I pray they will pursue You and join Your Forever Family. Amen.