Aug 29, 2012
Jan and I just got back from a 3-week vacation seeing family and celebrating 35 years of marriage.
It was the best vacation we’ve ever had.
But that creates a problem.
Have you ever had such a great time on vacation that you felt empty when you came back?
Don’t get me wrong. I love San Jose and Mercy Hill Church and what God is doing in and through us.
But still, vacation is vacation — seeing new sights, exploring new places, and lots of time just being together.
So before we left I thought about how faith in Jesus Christ would help me come back from vacation feeling — not empty — but thankful, refreshed, and envisioned.
So here’s what I sought to do —
As the time for the vacation drew near it was natural and right to feel growing excitement.
But as wonderful as a vacation might be — it is nowhere near as satisfying as Jesus Christ.
So in the weeks before leaving, I sought to obey 1 Peter 1:13 —
Therefore … set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
Not that I felt no hope or excitement about the upcoming vacation.
But I fought — with prayer and God’s Word — to see and feel that Jesus Christ is infinitely more exciting.
This was crucial because the more my hope was in the vacation — the more empty I’d be when it was over.
I wasn’t always successful. But mostly my hope was fully set on Jesus Christ.
During the vacation
God gave us many wonderful gifts during the vacation —
- time with our daughter Anna, whom we hadn’t seen for over a year
- meeting Jan’s brother and sister-in-law at the Grand Canyon
- a 2-hour mountain bike ride in the beauty of Sedona, AZ
- a sweet prayer time with my parents
- being at the North Bridge in Concord where the Revolutionary War began
- a spectacular ferry ride to Vinalhaven Island off the Maine coast
But good gifts can distract us from Jesus Christ.
So what am I supposed to do — try NOT to enjoy these gifts?
No. What helped was Psa 43:4, which describes God as “the joy of our joys” (in the Hebrew).
I remember hearing John Piper say this means that the ultimate joy of every joy is seeing God’s goodness in that joy.
So throughout the vacation, I sought to enjoy each gift — AND let every gift point me to God Himself.
Again, this was crucial because if my heart was focused only on the vacation-gifts — I’d be empty when the vacation was over.
But if every vacation-gift pointed me to God — I’d be all the more filled when the vacation was over.
Towards the end of the vacation
I wanted to help us both transition well back to San Jose, so as we walked I asked — “What promises does God give that will help us return full and not empty?”
We had a great discussion — and here’s what we came up with —
Phil 4:19 — “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus” — so He would supply all the grace we need as we headed back.
Psa 16:11 — “In your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore” — so we can be just as filled with joy in returning from vacation as we were in being on vacation.
Jer 29:11 — “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare … to give you a future and a hope” — so God has a great Fall planned for us.
God used these promises to alleviate concerns, set our hearts even more fully on Him, and stir excitement about returning to San Jose.
Thoughts? Feedback? Comments?
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And here’ some related posts you might find helpful —
Overcoming Fears While On Vacation
"All I Have Is Christ" (a powerful worship song)
6 Reasons Heart-Satisfaction Is Crucial
Blaise Pascal's astonishing experience