Events once celebrated, still celebrated by most families, have now become a test of endurance for us. We leave for vacation tomorrow. A vacation that Grant was scheduled to join us, share in our fun and memories. And now instead, only memories of Grant will accompany us on our adventure. He will be there in some sense, as we will all carry him with us in our hearts. But his physical absence will be with us as well. Everyday, every event, a reminder he’s not with us here.
Somewhere along the line I started to think this life owed me happiness, like one continuous vacation. When did American culture start to believe we deserve a perpetually carefree, happy comfortable life? And if we are indeed expecting life to deliver this untroubled merry adventure, when life fails to deliver, what does that do to our view of life and indeed God Himself?
God’s word never promises the Christian life will be an easy or happy one. There will be a peace that surpasses understanding (Philippians 4:7), a joy that brings strength (Nehemiah 8:10), and a hope that abounds (Romans 15:13). But scripture never promises happiness, or riches, or ease, or perfect health, or comfort, or long life with all of your loved ones surrounding us. In fact it states quite the opposite.
But man is born to trouble as surely as the sparks fly upward. Job 5:7
Trials, hardships, and suffering will come. But rather than bringing a life of despair they are meant to increase my faith and strengthen my trust in God. They are meant to create a hunger and anticipation of life to come in eternity, where there is no more pain. They are meant to increase our affection for Christ, because He has made the way to eternity for us. But I must have that hope in front of me at all times, and it must be vibrant and sure, or suffering will overwhelm me and bring despair with it.
So I will try and use this vacation to make me freshly grateful that this life is temporary and that my God has secured for me an eternal life, that is like an endless vacation! May it also remind me that in heaven there are no more trials, no more good byes, no more sorrow. There is no pain here on earth that Heaven doesn’t fix…now that’s a vacation!