Our family is so grateful for the wonderful Make-a-wish trip on the Disney Cruise to the Bahamas. The whole trip seemed to be a first class trip.
A vacation trip like this one often reminds me how quickly time flies. All the planning and anticipation can at first make everything seem so far away and then before you know it you’ve already been home for two weeks. Each day anticipated and each day goes by faster than the previous day. Personally I can put so much expectations on a trip like this. That somehow a vacation away will make everything go away, even if just for a time. All the rest I need to catch up on or stress overload will magically fade away as we board the airplane. But every vacation comes to an end and soon it’s back to “real life”. Please don’t get me wrong, my reflection does not come from an ungrateful heart, I am thankful for every moment of our time away, but I believe as God grows our understanding of things that are eternal it increase our heart of graditude for each blessing that God gives us. We can so often put expectations on people, vacations, hobbies that can only be met in Christ. Even our expectation of how life should turn out…healthy family, enough money, times of escaping “real life” just to name a few. Each one of these will eventually fall short if we place eternal qualities on temporal things. Maybe some of us would not admit that this is the case for us but our thoughts and actions can subtly speak a different story. How often I find my thoughts fixed on things that will not endure. Looking forward to a trip or things in our life, is not a bad thing given the right perspective. Do you remember a time when you were thankful for a Christmas gift you received years ago? Maybe it was the best gift you had ever received? The giver was so insightful and knew just what you wanted and then took the time to get it for you. I can think of my first laptop I received from my parents as I graduated high school. I was so grateful for that gift but today I rarely think about it. Actually if someone gave me that same laptop today I would probably give it to one of my kids to play with as it could only access the internet through dial-up and does not have a large enough hard drive to run even the most basic programs.
I can so often not think very deeply about why I am Thankful. Our heart of Thanksgiving can simply be out of our situation or circumstances. I can be thankful for my wonderful family who are so supportive, or that I have a job that provides for my family, or for my health. But as soon as the circumstance changes so can our heart of Thankfulness…unless my thankfulness is rooted in the unchanging character of Christ. Hebrews 13:8 says “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” You see, I hate heart conditions and muscular diseases, but I am incredibly Thankful that Christ is doing a redemptive work through it. God has a purpose…a plan in everything and it might not be to restore our earthly bodies to full health. Actually it’s a guarantee that short of Christ return all of our bodies will fail us…all will face death. This is why Paul tells us in Colossians 3, “…if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” People who place their trust in Christ are “hidden” with him…who is “seated at the right hand of God.” He is eternal, unchanging, creator of the universe who by His sacrifice on the cross redeemed those who place their trust in Him. Paul’s words are telling us the world around us is changing and uncertain so set your mind on the unchanging, eternal Christ in which all praise, and thanksgiving regardless of our changing circumstances is rooted.
You might be thinking, “wow that’s pretty deep for reflecting on a Disney Cruise.” But as I now look back on our trip and ahead to Noah’s heart transplant my prayer comes from Colossians 3:17, “Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.” So whether Disney Cruise or heart transplant all thanks, praise and glory to the unchanging God who has a purpose in all things.