MANY years ago, my family went on a long awaited and cherished vacation. Our destination was to visit relatives and other historical sites, around eight hours away. Travelling by our old Chevy Impala was our mode of transportation. On the day before our vacation, my parents were involved in the prized church picnic. My siblings and me enjoyed ourselves immensely. Our parents helped by serving picnic attendees more. Their busyness from the day before, and the progression of the long trip fueled their fatigue. The occasional, “Are we there yet?”, added more fuel to their weariness. However, not one of my siblings or me stopped to consider the outcome of our questions on our parents. We thought only of ourselves… Crowded does not begin to explain our packed seating. With the ages of my four siblings and me ranging from 12 to 2, competition for space became an issue. Technology had not advanced enough to have DVDs playing to take our minds off the destination spot. Excitement was in the air! We had waited for years for this trip, when in actuality it was months. The arrival of our destination took care of all our problems. Once again my family really loved each other, because we had arrived! Our trip could now begin!
Well it began, but a little differently, than we expected… After entering our relatives’ home, sleeping arrangements were made. Limited space dictated that everyone would stay inside, except my oldest siblings and me. That sounded good, until we learned of a burglary in the house. It happened to the previous owner, not too long ago. That night we slept in the two tents, with our luggage at the tent doorway… I do not think any of us caught even a little nap, images of a burglar trying to enter either of our tents had kept us awake. The rest of the trip was nice, but that memory stands out to all of us. It is important to note that each of my siblings would probably share their own view point of this vacation.
Another trip can be compared to our trip, expectations were one way, and somehow the end results turned out absolutely different!
Imagine this; Saul was on a rampage to kill all Christians. Christians believed differently, and Saul was trying to correct that by arresting followers of Jesus, the proclaimed Messiah, who was crucified… The high priests never believed Jesus was and is the only way…
On his way to arrest more Christians, something very unexpected happened…
As he was approaching Damascus on this mission, a light from heaven suddenly shone down around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul! Saul! Why are you persecuting me?”
“Who are you, lord?” Saul asked.
And the voice replied, “I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting! Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”
The men with Saul stood speechless, for they heard the sound of someone’s voice but saw no one! Saul picked himself up off the ground, but when he opened his eyes he was blind. So his companions led him by the hand to Damascus. He remained there blind for three days and did not eat or drink.
Now there was a believer in Damascus named Ananias. The Lord spoke to him in a vision, calling, “Ananias!”
“Yes, Lord!” he replied.
The Lord said, “Go over to Straight Street, to the house of Judas. When you get there, ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul. He is praying to me right now. I have shown him a vision of a man named Ananias coming in and laying hands on him so he can see again.”
“But Lord,” exclaimed Ananias, “I’ve heard many people talk about the terrible things this man has done to the believers in Jerusalem! And he is authorized by the leading priests to arrest everyone who calls upon your name.”
But the Lord said, “Go, for Saul is my chosen instrument to take my message to the Gentiles and to kings, as well as to the people of Israel. And I will show him how much he must suffer for my name’s sake.”
So Ananias went and found Saul. He laid his hands on him and said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road, has sent me so that you might regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” Instantly something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he got up and was baptized. Afterward he ate some food and regained his strength.
Saul stayed with the believers in Damascus for a few days. Acts 9:3-19 NLT
Unexpected things happen on trips. We just have to realize that God is in control and He has a plan. So on trips, parents have to remember all things that happen, whether positive or negative, are a part of God’s plan. Our children will remember them for the rest of their lives.
Paul found his purpose, to carry the gospel to the Gentiles. What is your purpose as parent on a trip? Are you simply going to relax to get away from stress, make memories, or maybe even visit some great vacation spot to learn about our history. Whether you realize it or not, our children are making memories in everything that we do, or do not do with them. They notice everything! So what are you wanting them to see?
From my little trip, you know what I saw, my parents loved us all enough to take us on that trip. They could not have changed the sleeping arrangements, because it was not their house. As a child, I probably did not see that, but it is apparent now! Your children will not only remember, but will find the good things out of the bad, even if it is much later in life.