I’m on vacation and my heart has a conflict in it. Don’t misunderstand…I’m having a great vacation! That is part of the conflict. Let me see if I can explain.
My journey with Christ has been dull recently. I hope I don’t shock you with those words (if I did…you think too highly of me). I’ve been walking with Christ for over three decades and this is not the first time I’ve hit a lull. Maybe you understand what I’m talking about…my times with the Lord seem to be one-sided (that is…I’m the only one showing up). Well, maybe I should back up. As of late, its been a personal struggle to even commit some time to the Lord. It’s not because I don’t have time. It’s because when I sit down with my Bible or when I try to talk to the Lord, I just can’t seem to connect with Him. I know He is there. I don’t doubt His presence or His love. I just don’t know what to say. I don’t know where to start. Prayer seems difficult and the Bible seems like a book I just can’t get into…on a personal level. So, my times with the Lord have become awkward… dry.
You want to know what is odd? Preparing sermons or Bible studies is not a struggle. I sit down and ask the Lord to show me what I should share from His word with His people and BAM! He guides me…gives me ideas…and gives me a message. I credit this to all the wonderful people praying for God’s kingdom to grow. It is so strange to hear people say, “God spoke to me through that message” knowing that I am personally having a difficult time hearing God’s voice in my own my life. This whole preaching thing is a wonderful mystery. I will never figure it out.
I digress. So…I’m on vacation (only 3 days in) and my heart and mind is being bombarded with the goodness of God. Now…I’m still struggling to pray and spend time in the Word, but its like God is lobbing grenades of goodness that keep exploding around me. It began with Cherry and I getting a hotel room without any kids (they are all staying with my parents). We’ve been able to talk (and do other things) without interruption. What a blessing this woman is to me! As I spend these uninterrupted moments with her it is as if God is saying, “Enjoy.” And in the recess of my mind I think…God you are so good to me. I can’t even have a meaningful conversation with You right now and you are showing goodness to me.
The next explosion of goodness came when I read on Facebook all the shout-outs to Pastor Stephen. People were encouraged by his teaching/preaching. I can’t tell you how happy this made my heart. I began to think of all the wonderful people God has placed around me. Again, God began showing His goodness to me as I thought of each of these individuals…their dedication to the Lord and His people…their talents and skills they use to build His kingdom…their partnership with me to make disciples of Christ.
The next blast took place when we took the family to my cousin’s house for a gathering of extended family. It was awesome! A total of forty-four aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and cousins all in one place to play, reconnect and once again be reminded we are not alone on this planet. I come from a long line of people who know how to have fun and love the Lord. It was a good day. A day where once again God was saying, “Cary, I love you.” And in the back of my mind I’m thinking…Father, why are you so good to me right now. I can’t even read your Word on a personal level.
We went to the zoo. No one can walk around the zoo and not be reminded of the awesome creativity and power of God. With each animal, common and exotic, I was reminded of God’s presence. He created all this beauty and wonder and oddities (have you seen a sloth lately…it only moves 120 feet a day and that is usually when it has to poop!) for us to enjoy and scratch our heads over. Again, it was God reminding me of His goodness to me…to all of us.
Walking with the Lord feels one-sided on some days (that is, me doing all the work). On other days it feels like he is the One carrying the load to remind me of who He is and who I am (that’s where I am right now). However, there are some days when the walk fleshes out more like a partnership. Each of us working in tandem with the other to accomplish His greater plan. Those are good days. Those are the days I want to come back. Until then, I will keep enjoying His bursts of goodness to me. I do know this; with each detonation my heart longs to walk in the unison I know is possible (and my vacation is only half-way done).