80 degrees, sandy beaches, all you can eat buffets, sounds dreamy right? My wife and I headed to the airport at 2am a few weeks ago for some relaxing fun in the sun in Jamaica. Family and friends had graciously agreed to watch our children while we were away. We try to have a getaway once a year without the children so my wife and I can remember why we married in the first place.
I should have known what kind of trip it was going to be when our airplane suddenly soared back into the air when attempting to land in paradise. After witnessing a bit of a panic around the inside of the plane for several seconds we were greeted with a message from the cockpit saying they could not see the runway due to the tropical storm. There was no sunshine and sandy beaches to be seen out our airplane windows, only rain drops that were being pulled across the windows as we circled back around for another try.
Once we landed we learned our next bit of bad news, our luggage was not there. As bad as that news was, it didn’t really seem so bad when they told us they would bring it to our hotel as soon as it arrived. They knew of its location and assured us it would be just a few hours behind us. Trying to be optimistic I thought to myself, ‘traveling to the hotel was going to be easy with just a couple small carry-on items. We will get there, get something to eat, and venture around a bit and then the luggage will get there.’ Only it did not.
We ate, we ventured around, we waited… 5 hours later after checking in with the front desk 4 or 5 times, my wife had a thought. “I bet our luggage was delivered to their sister hotel. Why don’t you ask them to call over there?” I went up to the front desk and offered the suggestion to them. After waiting 5 hours to receive our luggage, within 60 seconds of my suggestion, it was located and we were on our way to pick it up. It had been sitting there for 3 hours. It arrived just 2 hours behind us. Unfortunately, their golf carts were occupied so in order for us to get our luggage right away we would have to walk and get it ourselves. After waiting 5 hours, we didn’t want to wait any longer. We made our way back to our room dragging 3 suitcases and 2 carryon bags while dripping in sweat from the 80 degree weather.
The first five days of our stay brought rain every single day. As if the rain falling from the sky was not enough moisture for one trip, water fell from our bathroom ceiling most every night as well. After having a maintenance man in our room for two consecutive nights and after having him say, “It’s fixed,” two consecutive nights, I began to lose my cool when the ceiling began raining water on day 5. I went down to the front desk with my frustrations and I was told we would be getting another room. We were supposed to pack our things and call the front desk when we were ready.
I tried to hurry as I packed because I was about to go the buffet when the water started leaking. Fawn had an upset stomach so she was going to stay behind. I was dressed in pants for dinner so it didn’t take long for me to heat up in our warm room when packing. By the time we were packed and moved, I had a good sweat going. With it now getting so late, the last thing I wanted to do was take another shower so I walked out the door to make the long walk to the buffet in the warm evening air. By the time I sat down in the restaurant I was more interested in getting something to drink than eating. I felt really gross as I wiped the sweat away in between each bite.
Maybe the most telling of all happened to me on the second day. I was returning from the beach in between rain showers when it happened. Two, middle aged females were leaving the pool area and were just in front of me as we started to climb the hotel steps to go back to our rooms. The women were walking side by side but one was hanging back a bit as we climbed the steps. I quickly learned the female in front mistook me for her friend when she stopped, stuck out her bikini covered bottom, and farted in my face. Immediately after she released the gas, she turned to her left to see her friend was not behind her but was instead right beside her. She paused for a second as she realized her plan to drop the A bomb on her friend had gone terribly bad. She then ever so slowly turned around to see me hanging a few feet back from her still smoking cannon. Her and her friend stopped walking and began to laugh hysterically as I left them standing there in my dust. I must have climbed 3 or 4 flights of stairs before I could no longer hear their laughter from below.
How often I have heard it said, America is blessed or God blesses America but is America really blessed? I mean, yes we have so much and every good thing comes from God but do we have what we have because of what we do or because of what we do not do? There is a popular movement in the church that says the Christian life is full of riches and blessings. If you seek God He will fill your houses with an abundance of blessings and prosperity. But often the blessings that come from God in the Bible are not material blessings but are blessings of peace, and joy, and hope. Give a Godless man a million dollars and he may seem to be filled with joy. Take away his million dollars and his joy will show to be what it always was, fleeting. Give a man peace and joy and hope from God and take away every possession he owns and he will still be filled with peace and joy and hope.
That is not to say God can’t and doesn’t prosper some people who obey His commands. In fact, Psalm 37:4 says to, “Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” But we are to seek God because we love God not because of what He can do for us. Unfortunately many times in the past I sought God for what I could get. That is not love. Do you know someone that only calls when they want something from you? Does that make you feel loved?
If you place a frog into boiling water and it will jump right out. Place a frog in cool water and slowly raise the temperature and the frog gets cooked without realizing it. If you live in America more than likely the water feels pretty good to you. You will undoubtedly experience pain and heartache like we all do but most of us can say we are pretty comfortable by the worlds standards. But your feelings of comfort and security can blind you to the changing temperature of your heart. A full bank account and a full refrigerator can make you drowsy and drunk. If you are not careful you can assume material blessings are an approval from God for how you are living your life. You can easily get more interested in where you are going out to eat than the fact that you are getting cooked yourself.
I was going to share a particular verse to wrap this blog up but it cannot be found. I have searched and searched and prayed to find it but I can’t. I was praying about it today and came to Malachi 3. Coincidentally, I ‘randomly’ found Malachi 3 several times when I was praying to find the verse I was looking for. Each time I realized what I was looking for was not in Malachi and moved on. Today I realize God was taking me to where He wanted me all along.
Malachi 3:13-15 “You have spoken arrogantly against me,” says the Lord. “Yet you ask, ‘What have we said against you?’ “You have said, ‘It is futile to serve God. What do we gain by carrying out his requirements and going about like mourners before the Lord Almighty? But now we call the arrogant blessed. Certainly evildoers prosper, and even when they put God to the test, they get away with it.”