Ever had a bad vacation? I haven’t. To me, “bad” in reference to vacation is an oxymoron.
The last couple Fridays I’ve shared about our trip to Maui in June. We always try to exploit the benefit of getting away by scheduling plenty of time to rest. It was no different while visiting there in Paradise, as we booked three different days to be by ourselves, on the beach, with our seltzer water, earbuds, and books.
I remember a time as a youngster, when my parents, brother and I took a family fishing trip to Hamlin Lake, near Ludington, Michigan. We were the stereotypical, 1960s middle-class family of four, with enough — but just enough, not plenty enough.
Vacations weren’t standard fare for us, so going away anywhere was a big deal.
My brother, dad and mom all liked fishing, though Mom wouldn’t touch the worms. I think she was mostly pretending to enjoy it. I didn’t even pretend. To me it was dull drudgery, but in order for the family to be away together it was worth suffering through.
We’d rented an aluminum Jon boat, with a small outboard motor. Understanding my chagrin with the escapade of trying to entice reluctant fishies to bite bait, Dad decided one day to motor clear across the lake to the sand dunes.
“Cool”, I thought.
It was a treacherous trip for landlubbers, with gusty winds and wafting whitecaps. Adorned in oversized, dingy orange life vests, we must have been a sight, slowly puttering against the wind, bouncing over breakers to thud thunderously as they broke. We finally arrived at our destination, only to swamp the skiff as we disembarked on the dunes.
The boat was completely submerged at the shoreline, and too heavy then to pull ashore. But, no worries, we would just bail it out. After all, we had Dad’s paper coffee cup and a minnow bucket.
So, we tried, but our valiant efforts to salvage the sunken vessel failed as new waves flooded whatever progress was made with our frantic bailing.
This was 1964, before cell phones except for Maxwell Smart’s shoe, so we were stranded with no S.O.S. options. There wasn’t anyone to be seen on the dunes except us. And there wasn’t any civilization for many, many miles down the shoreline, around the lake.
Very few boats were out that day, due to the lake conditions, and whenever we tried to hail the occasional voyaging seaman, they either didn’t see us, or just reciprocated a cordial salutation.
Sunbaked through the hot afternoon, we’d already consumed our emergency supply of Orange Crush and Bun Bars. The day meandered into evening, and dusk was starting to settle. Funny, my brother and I weren’t panicked, but I’m sure our folks were terrified.
A Lake Patrol boat eventually arrived, perhaps informed by a previous passerby, who tugged our boat up from the water and chauffeured us back across the lake to our cabin.
Then, after Mom fixed some dinner, we all laughed about our misadventure while playing Yahtzee. We made the best of it.
Did this ruin the trip? Not at all. A challenging time on vacation doesn’t nullify its value. We enjoyed ourselves. And now we have a great family memory to reminisce about.
Jesus promised us this: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
Our resting from workaday stresses and mundane routine is so necessary. Especially in our nation, where employees are often expected to take vacations without vacating company texts and emails, we really need a break. It’s only by resting, relaxing, and refreshing that we can realize the value of being rejuvenated.
We’re told that God created the universe and all within it, in six days, and on the seventh day, He rested. Let me ask you a question: Why? Why did God rest?
Granted, the intricate design, complicated administration, and orderly construction of the entire universe was a monumental task, but do you think God rested because He was tired from all the hard work? I don’t think so.
No, I believe God was setting an example for us to follow.
In the book of Hebrews, chapter 4, it says: “There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his.”
God wants us to prioritize resting from our work. We shouldn’t return from a vacation more exhausted than when we left. Instead, schedule some down time. Pace yourself. It’s not important to run ourselves ragged to justify the vacation expense, because the greatest value is often found in what we don’t do on vacation. Take time to rest.
You know the expression, “History repeats itself”? Regarding Maui, I hope so.
And there’s another, even more exciting occasion I’m eager to see come back around.
I’ll explain next week.
Dave Hinman is Pastor Emeritus at Dove Church Wilmington. Reach him at [email protected] .
This weekly column is provided to the News Journal on a monthly rotation basis by members of the Wilmington Area Ministerial Association.