Taste and see that the Lord is good. How happy is the person who takes refuge in him!” Psalm 34:8
It was a close call. It all started several months ago when I received an email from a website called “Travelzoo.” Each Wednesday they send out a “Top 20” list of their best travel deals. Well, in June that list included a really, good deal at a really nice hotel in Naples. Now you probably ought to know that one thing trumps all else when it comes to me and hotels: PRICE. I love a good deal. But this one had a great price along with a nice pool, hot tub, great decor, good location and a free shuttle to the beach. I talked it over with Judy and we began making plans for a trip to Southwest Florida.
Well, as time went by, I arranged our flight to and from Naples and of course the now famous car rental—a Mustang convertible. Well, as the days got closer, and for a reason I don’t remember, I just started wondering if we should look at another place to stay—something with more space, perhaps a kitchen—you know, a small condo. So, we started looking and low and behold we found one—actually me, Mr. Price Trumps Everything, found one. Yes, it was a bit more expensive and it wasn’t in Naples but rather Fort Myers Beach. But it seemed to be saying, “Rent me.” We did.
Now there are lots of ways I can tell this story but perhaps the shorter version is the best version. I apply this often to my sermons—NOT. As we get to Fort Myers, we find this condo is a home-run, grand slam. It overlooks this large, beautiful bay with a fabulous view from the seventh floor. It had a large balcony and the living room wall was floor to ceiling glass. It really was amazing. Fish and dolphins were jumping in the bay, birds were everywhere, boats zipped up and down the channel, and each morning a beautiful sunrise greeted us. Paradise.
Ok, so now, fast forward. We left there on Wednesday and drove down to the keys in our Mustang convertible (can someone say, “cool”) and stayed for a couple of days before returning to Naples on Friday, to spend the night and fly home on Saturday morning. So…we spend Friday night in the hotel we had originally booked for the first six nights of vacation. Now, it was nice, but there were no restaurants nearby, the beach was several, and I do mean several, miles away. The room was small with no fish or dolphins jumping anywhere, no birds, no boats, and no morning sunrise to say “Hi.”
Now that was fine for one night. However, I looked at Judy and she looked at me and we both realized we had been blessed and rescued. That small room could have been our home not for one night but six nights and every meal would have meant a hunt for a restaurant. And anytime, and I mean anytime, we were outside our room and in the building, a mask was required. The whole tenor of the vacation would have changed. It would have been away but that was just about it. Away.
Let me tell you that we firmly believe that our Dearest Father acted on our behalf. He knew we would not have been happy for six nights in that hotel and He whispered and nudged at just the right time and gently moved us in another direction…a direction that exceeded our needs and expectations. It occurred to both of us that God had sent us a love note. God knew what we needed better than we did. He knew that saving a few bucks paled in comparison to what He had picked for us! It was so cool.
We had a great time. And over and over, throughout the time we were there, we kept saying, “God rescued us” and we knew it was true. And here’s the best part—while we got to recognize this one, I wonder just how many times and how many ways does He do it over and over again? He works behind the scenes, silently changing plans and directing our steps towards His blessings and away from our disasters. I believe when we get to heaven it is going to be crazy good. We will see Jesus and our loved ones who knew Jesus and have gone before us. It’s gonna be awesome. But until then the Psalmist says we should just keep tasting, keep discovering just how good God is and that will keep us busy for a long time.
I think one of my favorite things about heaven is going to be the fact that we will finally see all the ways that God acted on in our behalf. I can imagine the walls of heaven covered with sticky notes—love notes from our Dearest Daddy to me and you—all saying in a million different ways, “I love you.” Oh, I know it won’t be exactly like that but I also know in heaven I will see all the things He did for me. I can’t wait. Till then I’m going to have to be satisfied with the times I see them and the times we get to sit together and rest in our love…especially His for me. Oh, and then there are the times when I realize, I know, that He’s got this. And that is in everything and every day. How about that?