The first thing you may notice is that the picture on this blog is dog-free.
You know I love dogs. But sometimes, I don't NEED dogs. I don't need to see them peeing and pooping on the beach I long to meander along and think dog-free thoughts. And two mornings, later as i contemplated braving the beach, a cat was using the sand as its litterbox.
Sometimes the things we hope to take refuge in turn out to be imperfect and have repulsive elements.
I love my house but it is currently swarmed with workers doing an impressive amount of home repairs. Hardly peaceful. All Summer, I run to see my friends at the Dairy Barn and their cones full of deliciousness, but noting my rather tight Fall clothing reminds me even chocolate peanut butter has its sneaky dark side (and it's not chocolate). Ditto fruity beach drinks. They lie, I tell you! The moment I take pride in my identity as a fitness instructor, my ankle throbs, reminding me of a body that won't endure forever.
"His LOVE endures forever."
The last two weeks Haven Ministries has broadcast programs featuring Corrie Ten Boom's story. If you have not read her book or seen the movie based on it, the Hiding Place, then DO THAT. She survivied my personal worst nightmare (and likely yours) and came out of it like a boss. I mean, her faith, refined by the fire of the Nazis, was fierce and grew brighter. "There is no pit, that God's love is not deeper still." See? And that's just one of her amazing lessons.
She told the story of while in solitary confinement at a concentration camp, she called out to God and told him that her faith was not strong enough. Through the lesson of a simple ant walking into a crevice in a wall, the Lord spoke to her, "Corrie, your faith ISN'T strong enough, but I AM. See the ant? It walks into its hiding place, and that is what you must do."
This morning I woke up with entirely too much energy and a ready-to-go attitude. That's not so hard to do on vacation. But the Real World lurks, and even here it is hard to avoid headlines that remind us that Evil still desires to wipe out good.
In light of that, I don't really care about the dogs and cats doing their business on the beach. Most of the time, dogs and cats are really fabulous gifts that enrich my life. And if I could just enjoy ice cream less often, it would only grow my appreciation for its better qualities. Getting a buzz out of leading a bunch of fabulous women toward their fitness goals isn't bad when I remember that it is only the Lord who is my strength and my sustainer.
There are a lot of things I don't need. And even though I want them and get sucked into their comfort too much, what I really NEED all the time is Jesus. Even if I get irritated that life is not just how I think it should be and mean people suck, He knows and controls this world with a plan far beyond my understanding (despite my suggestions and questions).
While I don't need dolphins either, seeing them just over the rim of my laptop while listening to a song about God's grace enriches my life with a gift that proves the message of the song. Let the People Rejoice.