The other day I asked my son if he remembered a particular event from a family trip a couple years ago. “Nope” — his flat-line tone clearly indicating a lack of interest. I fed him a few details to nudge his memory, but to no avail. A little perplexed, I half-jokingly asked, “So, do you remember anything about that trip at all?” His face quickly brightened, “Yeah, I remember we ate Easy Mac in the hotel room – that was awesome!”
We’ve all taken family vacations only to get frustrated when our kids don’t appreciate the things we think they should. Highlights for my two boys on a recent excursion to Washington DC were not the fantastic sites my wife and I picked out for them. Rather, they most enjoyed the hotel swimming pool, a local mini-golf fixture, riding the subway (let me point out the obvious here: there isn’t even a view out of a subway train window), and of course, the microwaveable pasta we bought at Target.
As we toured the Washington Monument area, our younger son even missed an unexpected chance to see the President pass by because he was totally absorbed in banging a stick on the sidewalk. Somehow the sirens and fanfare surrounding the Presidential motorcade went completely unnoticed as he engaged in an imaginary epic conquest.
How often, I wonder, does the Lord view me in the same way we view our kids on vacation? How often is He frustrated with my inattention to His great ideas and plans for my life? Am I missing the bigger destinations He’s proposed because I’m fixated on my own personal interests? Am I left daydreaming as huge spiritual opportunities pass right by unnoticed? Can I even see the things the Lord wants to show me, or is my vision of God’s plan as clear as the view from a subway train? How often do I fall short of completing the plan God has laid out for me because, like a child on vacation, I’m complaining that I have to “walk too far,” or my attitude is, “do I really have to?”
I think of the rewarding feeling I get when I see my kids enjoying something I have specifically planned for them (especially when they thank me for it)! How pleased God must be when I pay attention to His plan and fully appreciate the journey He’s taking me on.
Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
– Ron Reid