Vacation is exhausting, but I am glad it isn’t boring. When we moved over 1000 miles away from family, I knew that we would be spending a lot of our vacation time with them, since we can’t make it to most family gatherings. With each additional child, that became all the more evident. Don’t get me wrong, I look forward to it as much as the other family members do. It is just that at the end of it, I am ready to get back home. There is an appeal to being home, seeing people and reliving some of the fun memories of the past. But, at the end of it all God shows me once again how He has led me and how He has me right where He intends.
We were able to stop by our first apartment. The land lord is a now 92-year-old lady who rented her basement apartment to my wife and I when we were were first married. She is an incredibly godly woman and a tremendous example of what it means to follow God in all of life. It was fun to visit with her and remember some of those days we had there. It was there that we started our married life and it was there that we also started our parenting adventure. We also stopped by the college where my wife and I met, walking around for a short time and finding it unbelievable that time has flown by so quickly and that the halls, once familiar, were strangely different. We spent some time with the kids at the Mall of America, where we have spent many cold winter days when our 8-year-old son was just a baby. It was still the same place, but our perspective on things are far different. Nostalgia is fun for a while.
When I visit family, I get constant questions about moving back home. Then we experience sadness that our children only see their cousins once a year. Why is it that someone would choose to live so far from family? Do I not like being with my family?
As I drive the many miles, I think about what God has called me to and how significant it really is. I replay all sorts of events in my life that have contributed to the current place I am in life, both physically and spiritually. I never once begged God to allow me to move away, in fact I wanted to stay in Minnesota. I did now give God a bunch of demands. I simply opened up my arms and told God that I was willing, no matter what, to follow. It has never been about me and it thankfully never will be. The reason I live where I live and do what I do is because of Jesus Christ. There is something far greater than this temporary life that I need to be concerned with. I am the person God has placed on Cape Cod to minister to the group of people he has placed me with. For me to drop that because I want to see my family more often would be short sighted and selfish.
Following Jesus was never supposed to be easy. Jesus taught this a number of times in the Gospels and people were often unwilling to give it all up to follow Him. So, while never easy, we do know that the only guarantee is that it is worth it. So while I appreciate very much the time I have had in the past, I am even more grateful that God is faithfully using me where I am planted. God has always blessed our obedience to Him and I know He will continue it. Are there days it is hard? Yes! But, I don’t follow someone who has never given of Himself. Jesus Christ gave up His life for our forgiveness and I am all in for Him.
“Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” – Matthew 16:24
What has been your experience following Jesus?