longandwinding road

We took a road trip to Dad’s over Labor Day weekend.  Just a short one.  A little more than 30 hours, leaving around 1 Sunday afternoon and returning around 9 Monday evening.  It was great.  Not too long, not too short.  One of the many “things” from God that we enjoy is a relaxing getaway to see friends or family, have a little fun and, by God’s grace, see His faithful hand of protection as we travel.

Family is a wonderful blessing.  Some of you may have just read that and cringed at the thought, finding it very hard to agree with.  Well, I understand.  However, I didn’t say family is always enjoyable, pleasant and easy to be around.  I have news for you though, you are family to someone else too.  So anytime you’re tempted to focus on all the idiosyncrasies, faults, failures and downright difficulties of your family – don’t forget that you often bring the same issues into the relationship from your end.  Remembering how prone we are to wander into trouble will keep us humble and patient as we deal with others and their wanderings.  Family truly is a blessing though.  Consider how much God has done, is doing and will do for you through your family.  Your very physical entrance into this world.  Your provision, protection, pedagogy and playtime – all because of your parents, at least for your early years.  No matter how rough your childhood and upbringing might have been, you can find something to praise the Lord for as you reflect honestly on those who God put over you when you first came into this world.  And family can continue to be a blessing into adult life.  We definitely enjoy seeing our Moms and Dads when we can.  They are truly gifts from God.  They often offer wise counsel, encouraging words, love and care toward the children and help us along the way in innumerable ways.  I’m thankful that from God comes family.  He sustains our family and oftentimes us, through them.  Family was created to bring him glory.

This trip was a lot of fun too.  Lot’s of laughs on the trip over, during our stay and on the ride home.  Usually whenever we asked Anna a question, her answer was sure to make us all chuckle.  Once we got to Portage, the relaxing began and everyone had a great time.  The kids found the toy box, the adults began putting dinner together and enjoying conversation.  We played some soccer outside and enjoyed some barbecue (after Dad’s grille caught fire, melted the plastic knob and almost burned our hot dogs).  It was great.  We enjoyed God’s gift of laughter, fun and relaxation.  This is from Him.  He gives it and it is one of His many blessings.  We don’t enjoy these things because we’ve somehow mastered how to conjure them up.  We don’t create a relaxing weekend.  We receive those gifts, unearned.  We accept such grace and simply give thanks.  He gives, He sustains and He gets glory from these gifts He so graciously lavishes upon us.

Let’s not forget fortification.  Imagine telling someone 200 years ago that they would get into a vehicle weighing 4000 pounds, travel at speeds between 50 and 70mph (without messing up their hair), travel almost across the entire state of Michigan in just over 2 hours and arrive safely to do it all again the very next day!  Unthinkable then.  Commonplace now.  Familiarity can breed a lack of awe.  We take these things for granted, but God’s creating and sustaining powers go hand in hand with his protective care.  We were able to make it to the end of our street without being creamed by some maniac(or creaming someone, I know!) because of God’s fortifying hand which kept us from danger.  Do we pull into Dad’s driveway with a sigh of relief and utter, “Ahhh, I’m so glad I’m such a good driver”?  God forbid!  We praise Him who alone protects us along the path of every journey!  We ask for His protection before we shift into drive and we thank him for His answer to prayer when we shift into park.  From Him come all things.  To Him be all glory forever.

Thank you, Lord for the gift of family, fun and fortification.  Thank you for overwhelming us with the time, resources, health and ability to visit family on a long weekend.  Thank you for protecting us, giving us an encouraging, relaxing and refreshing time with Dad.  Thank you for getting us safely home and back into the work week.  You give all things.  All things are sustained by you and you will be glorified by everything!  To you be glory forever!  Amen.