I have just returned from ten days of vacation in Itasca County.
It was a grand and glorious time for me and I was greatly blessed by tall pines, beautiful lakes, and memorable sunsets. There was plenty of “beauty so brilliant I could hardly take it in.” (Thanks to Sarah Groves’ for that phrase from her song “You are the Sun.”)
One of the things I have learned to do prior to vacation is to make a list of things to take along, AND to review that list upon returning home. That cuts down on taking along unnecessary stuff next year.
As I reviewed this year’s list, I got to thinking about the stuff I took along but never had to use, including:Nyquil®
Triple anti-biotic ointment
Car repair tools
With the exception of the life jackets, all of those items are things that were not on the list at some point, but were added over the years because of experiences when one or more of those items was very much needed and I did not have it. I’m sure you can understand how a sixty-mile round trip late at night to fetch Pepto-Bismol® can seriously detract from the enjoyment of one’s vacation.
So, just because I didn’t use any of those items this year, I’m certainly not going to delete them from the list. The space they take up is negligible compared to the benefits they provide if they are needed.
It’s also abundantly clear that not having used them was reason for thanks and praise to our great and loving God. (Especially the life jackets!)
Not having used those items is evidence of answered prayer for protection from harm, danger, equipment failure, and illness. Thank you, LORD!
And that got me to thinking about all the things that don’t happen to us on a daily basis. When was the last time any of us woke up and thanked God that we didn’t come down with a summer cold while we slept? Or that the car didn’t break down yesterday?
We have so much to be grateful for, it’s impossible to comprehend it all at once.
My deepest gratitude is for Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross and His triumph over death when he rose from the dead and paid for an eternal home with the Father.
Come to think of it, none of those items or anything like them will ever be needed there in the city where the streets are made of gold and the river of the water of life flows from the throne.
And someday, when I stand on the banks of that river, I am very sure there will not be a list in my back pocket with “life jackets” checked off.
Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen. (Ephesians 3:20-21 ESV)