Posted in Family, friends, gratitude, life, loving others, missions, priorities, Scripture, thankful, travel, wisdom

But the Seat is Empty

He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5b

Well, that didn’t take long.  I decided to do something that is unusual for me.  I had registered my wife Judy and I for a pastor’s conference.  I was thinking one day and said to myself, “Maybe it would be good for me to just get away by myself.” Well, I talked it over with Judy and she agreed.  Of course, the fact that she was leaving right after the conference for a mission trip to Puerto Rico probably figured in.  So, the decision was made…I would go, she would stay. Where to go and when to stay and where to eat and when to eat would be my call. It was a good plan.

The day came.  We had great services at church, and I had a sandwich for lunch and a quick nap before I hit the road.  With a hug and a kiss, I was off on the great adventure.  I had the satellite radio playing hits from the 60’s, the cruise was set for the speed limit, and I passed the time just enjoying the beautiful day and the slowly changing color of the trees.  And then…it began to happen. It started when I caught myself causally glancing over at the passenger seat. Normally it would have held my favorite person in the whole world.  It sat empty.  No deal…but it was a thought.  I would occasionally put my hand in the seat as if feeling to see if she was there.  She wasn’t.

After several hours, I arrived at my hotel for the night.  I had chosen well.  It was very reasonable and very nice.  I opened the door and marveled at the room.  I wanted to share the moment with her, but she wasn’t there.  I called and let her know I was there safely and then planned supper.  There was no doubt where I was going.  Fazoli’s. They had their pizza baked spaghetti back on the menu and I had been wanting to go…so I did.  This was a place Judy probably wouldn’t have chosen but tonight it was my call and honestly…it was very good. That was followed with a visit to a creamery called, “The Lazy Cow.” I picked the place and the flavor.  “Not bad,” I said to no one as a went back to my room.

The room was still nice, but it was quiet…too quiet.  I called Judy and told her about supper and the ice cream, but it wasn’t the same as experiencing it with her.  After a while we said good night and we both went to bed in different beds, different rooms, and different states.  The next morning, she said she didn’t sleep too well, and I told her the same. I told her some plans I had made, and she shared hers.  After a couple of minutes, we said goodbye.  And that is when it hit me.

It was nice picking what music I wanted to listen to as I drove.  It was nice stopping when I wanted to stop. It was nice choosing to go to Fazoli’s and later getting ice cream. All that was nice, but she wasn’t there and that made it all less nice. Oh, it is still a good plan, and I will enjoy my time away.  I’m sure the teaching is going to be great and all that, but it will be different.  It might, it probably will be less than if she was there.  Think about that.  Think about something else.

Do we ever think or maybe even act on what life would be like without God? We muse how grand it might be without the rules, to make our own choices and decisions and not have to worry about what He might think. I know for some of you that may be everyday but for a chunk of us that is far stretch and yet too often we live that very same way. We include God when it is convenient and leave Him at home when it isn’t. I’ve already discovered that while this week will be good for me…it is not something I want to do all the time.

The bottom line is Judy is just too much a part of my life…and that is how we need to make it with God.  We need to make Him so much a part of our lives, that when we look around and realize we left Him (He will never leave us) that we are wise enough to go back and join Him.  Lord willing this Thursday, I’ll be back home…and home is a good place.  God said He will never leave us or let us go and there is a lot of comfort in that.  There’s also a lot of comfort in knowing that even when we take a trip and fail to invite Him, He’s still there…He’s still got this. Bro. Dewayne