As we passed through the first class section of the plane last Tuesday, we thought for a very short second about whether we should have paid a dollar per minute for those few extra inches of legroom (and bottom-room) to sit there with the elite. Launching into the second leg of a speaking marathon that would end up being fourteen speeches between us in four days, stretching out just a bit was momentarily very appealing. The facetious conversation went something like this:
Me: “You shoulda’ bought me a nap spot up there in first class.”
Glenn: “Do you really want to sit up there?”
Me: “I’d rather sit in the peon section with you than in first class with anybody else.”
Lying in a comfortable bed in someone’s guest room in Austin, Texas last night, or rather around 1 am this morning, I realized, that we had, at last, completed those 14 presentations in three states during the last four days. We had flown American this week, and, as you know American had experienced a computer black-out that was sure to pack planes, lengthen lines and delay departure times. We need to get home because there are appointments in three more states during the next three days. This morning as I took my shower, I wondered if we really would navigate the airports and skies successfully back to Huntsville. Distracted, I think I may have put tanning lotion in my hair instead of conditioner. (You know, they make you take those little bitty bottles of liquid on the plane and mine all look the same.)
But now, here we are, at last.–Glenn and I on the last leg of our trip back to Huntsville, where we will stay for a grand total of three hours and fifteen minutes before we leave once again. We may not even stop at the house. But we will stop at the house of the Lord. We will see our West Huntsville family and we will be rejuvenated for the rest of the week’s travels.
Through the airports on our way to Austin, CNN was reviewing footage, over and over, of the horrible Boston bombings. Knowing that some were dead, that several had lost limbs and that many more were hospitalized…all senselessly, devastated our nation all over again. It’s frightening to know, though, that tragedy of such proportions is not as shocking as it would have been a few short years ago, before we became painfully aware that, as bad as Boston was, it could have been far worse.
It’s been a long week for the Colleys. The simple stress of speaking multiple times, combined with being in unfamiliar territory while watching devastation in Boston, unsure of whether or not there will be an available return flight makes us long for home–the place we call “Serenity.”
It occurs to me that the security and peace of being in Christ is tailor made for people like Glenn and me. We just want to be at home–more. One day we will. One day there will be a flight that will, under no circumstances be cancelled (II Thess. 4:16). We will, in fact, “fly away to God’s celestial shore.” There will be no over-booking, no stand-by passengers and no delayed departures. We’re all going. And the Colleys are pretty excited about the lodging reservation we have already made. The nicest hotel in which we’ve ever stayed is the Opryland Hotel in Nashville. But that cannot compare in any sense to the accommodations that Christ has gone to prepare (John 14:1-6). And the best part, is that it will be home. It will be the real eternal Serenity. No check-out time, ever.
I’m really thankful that God provides so abundantly for the Colleys. He is good to us beyond what we can imagine and certainly beyond what we deserve. But if we fail to give Him the glory, may He strip us of the material blessings and chasten us until we recognize Him, once again, as the Source of every good and perfect gift.
I’ve been studying the book of Hosea in recent days. The whole point of that book is that God had to figuratively make his people move to the rear. They had to surrender the great material blessings they enjoyed. They had to be chastened because they had forgotten the Source of those blessings. They were sitting in the first class section provided by God, and, all the while, they were saying thank-you to gods of wood and stone.
I praise God when He is so very good to me. May I praise Him when material blessings are in short supply, too. I’d rather be anywhere, no matter how stressful, frightening, lonely or impoverished with Jesus than anywhere, no matter how comfortable, calm or luxurious, without Him.