We were on the final leg of a 2-month long road trip in which we had driven in excess of 6,000 km, and so naturally wanted to get home in the quickest and easiest way possible! The German autobahn will get you from point A to point B as quickly as possible, but it has its limitations. So after a few hours of the monotony of watching us pass the constant row of slower trucks on our right, and the steady stream of Mercedes, Audis, and BMW’s passing us on the left, I we really wanted to get off the highway and enjoy a bit of country road short-cut and partake of the beauties of Bayernland!
We had spotted on our map (yes, we still use paper maps from time to time) an area of lakes not far away, so plotted a course and headed toward a town that we found to our surprise to be in the midst of a regional holiday weekend. It ended up being our hottest day of the summer to that point, as we up till then we had been kept cool under the grey Scandinavian skies for most of the time. We found the lakes bustling with tourists of all sorts: campers, bicyclists, and bikers, all taking advantage of this lovely weekend to enjoy God’s beautiful nature! The birds were singing and it seemed all of creation was crying out in joy that summer had fully arrived!
We journeyed on a bit further until we came to a picturesque 500-year old village that was famous for the mark that Martin Luther had left upon it! Needing a place to bed down for the night, we came upon a nice, small hotel, that had been built into a 300-year old building inside the walled old city. We took a room there and thoroughly enjoyed our evening walk around the center, admiring the classic old Bavarian architecture and the bronze statue of Luther, the Bible in his hand open to Mark 8:36: “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?”
In all our travels, we have generally tended to gravitate toward camping amongst God’s wonderful nature, and not spending much time on sight-seeing, especially to look at old buildings. But I think this time the Lord was speaking to us, He was actually spoiling us! Just the day before it had been my birthday, and at first I thought it would be spent alone with Andrew driving across France. But when an invitation from Suzanne (a French colleague) to come visit came into our phone, we had to pray about re-directing our course slightly. And boy, were we glad we did! Finding parking for our fairly large van was a task in itself, as she lived on a busy city street not far from the center of town. But miraculously, as we circled around the block, we found an empty spot right in front of her building! Once upstairs, we were greeted with a sumptuous 5-course French cuisine dinner complete with aperitif, 2 types of table wine, digestif, and 2 cakes with ice-cream as a surprise birthday present! We felt so spoiled that God in His goodness would do something like that for us.
As we neared the end of our journey, the Lord crafted a beautiful sunset to welcome us home. Then as night fell, we were treated to an amazing fireworks display that we could easily watch from our bedroom window. The Father was celebrating the return of his traveling emissaries. Once home, I asked Him about all this, and He had some very eye-opening things to tell me! We can so often get ourselves into a works trip and be in such a hurry to reach somewhere or get something done that we just don’t take time to enjoy Him and the marvelous life He has given us!
God greatly desires to pour down His goodness upon us, but we need to take the time to receive and enjoy the things He is bringing our way — even some amazing surprise experiences He has lined up for us! He has boundless pleasures and miraculous events in store for each of us, but if we are in too big a hurry, we won’t even notice them! And then we can be found complaining about how hard life is! Lord, help us!
Yes, if our eyes are looking down at the waves, we make life hard on ourselves. But when we keep our eyes on Jesus, we can walk on the waters of adversity! When things seem rough, look up at the beautiful blue sky by day, and the moon and stars by night. Marvel at the trees and flowers, the birds and the creatures of the earth. Meditate on Psalm 23 and how God is in perfect control of it all. He will take care of you too!
Psalm 23 (KJV): The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.