Our family recently returned from a trip across the eastern half of the United States. We visited Arkansas, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, South Carolina, and Florida. We drove to those states throughout the month of September with 5 kids and a ton of luggage in one van. We survived. We had a great trip. And, I was surprised!
We had planned and prayed for this trip for months prior. We prayed throughout the trip—prayed for safety, for good attitudes, for physical and financial health, for good relationships with family and friends, for good memories. God overwhelmingly blessed us. We arrived home at the end of September without any accidents (only a cracked windshield from an errant stone), all family members are still on speaking terms with us, no one got sick on the trip, the kids did a great job sitting and cooperating on the long drives, and we came home slightly under budget. Above all, we got to spend time with many family members and great friends along the way—fantastic connections.
I mentioned we prayed. God blessed us. So, why was I surprised? Don’t get me wrong, I was grateful. We got home and I breathed a tremendous sigh of relief and disbelief. Then I stopped. I serve a big God. He delights in giving good gifts to His children, and I asked for His blessing; but I was acting as if I anticipated disaster. Oh me of little faith. Granted there is no assurance that a perfect vacation will happen; however, if He loves His children and will work all things for good, then I should rest in His provision. Breathe. Rest.
Paul accomplished his trip to Rome (Acts 27-28) with a shipwreck, snakebite, lives saved, and sharing the Gospel of Jesus. It was more eventful than ours, but full of blessings regardless. The lessons I learned? 1) Never underestimate our great God—both in His ability to give good gifts and in creating unexpected riches in the midst of seeming tragedy. 2) Stop wasting time gnashing my teeth over possibilities. Plan, work hard, and leave the rest in His hands.
Dear sister, how many times I wrestled with this trip and my wrestling was in vain. Events happened, awful or outstanding, nevertheless my wrestling. How many hours I could have chosen to smile instead of wandering around in a frowning fog of worry! Please know His peace is extraordinary and we can experience it if only we allow Him to shower us with it. Rest in Him and in His plans for you, for your family, your town, our nation, and even our world.
“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:4-7
Running with you,