WOW! WHAT A BEAUTIFUL PLACE!
I stepped out of the car at the Horn Creek Conference Center in the mountains near Colorado Springs and took a big breath of clean mountain air. The spectacular Rocky Mountains rimmed the valley where I stood.
We all know that feeling of traveling a long way and experiencing the anticipation and then the excitement of arrival; that’s what I felt. Hiking in the mountains, walking beautiful trails, fishing in a stream, or just standing by a gorgeous waterfall are all a source of anticipated relaxation.
Recently I visited my son-in-law in Idaho. I sat in the living room and looked out over a golden grain field that extended out from the backyard. In the distance I could see the foothills rising to meet the clear Idaho sky. From the front porch you could see a pasture with sheep grazing. What a peaceful place this is!
Interacting alone with this magnificent creation can quiet one’s heart. Unfortunately, conflict with one another, even in the most scenic places, will steal away that peace.
A couple experiencing serious marital problems was to go on a vacation somewhere. So the husband surprised his wife with a first-class deluxe Caribbean cruise. The drive to the boat dock was pleasant as they anticipated all the fun they would have on the ship for a week in the sun.
When they entered their small narrow stateroom, the husband quickly changed into his loudest multi-colored shirt (which his wife intensely disliked), threw the first shirt on the floor in the corner (she liked to keep a neat house), and pressured his wife with, “Honey, will you please hustle it up!” (He liked to be on time and she was always late.) On the deck, he, being an extrovert, began to loudly introduce himself to people. She, being an introvert, was embarrassed by his loudness and his awful shirt. They both wanted to accomplish something in their relationship that they couldn’t do at home. Needless to say, the Caribbean cruise was a disaster because they brought themselves along.
Sadly, we all know that peace inside an individual is not determined by being in a place.
LET’S GO FOR IT!
You can feel fulfilled by being involved in study programs in a wide variety of schools, colleges, institutes, and universities. You can feel challenged by the pursuit of a career or hobbies, learning a skill, becoming involved in a cause, attending an event, helping with charitable work, becoming involved in an exercise or weight loss program, or even working long and diligent hours in Christian work. Many activities can give satisfaction and pleasure to the participants without their giving God a thought.
I met a prominent lawyer who was to introduce me as a banquet speaker. I asked him how he became a Christian. He told me he was a star athlete and the top student in high school. When he received his diploma, he was disappointed. He thought there would be more satisfaction than he experienced. He entered Harvard College and received recognition and satisfaction from playing on the varsity football team. In the classroom he was a top student. But when he received his diploma, he was disappointed not to experience satisfaction from this accomplishment. So he looked eagerly to law school at Yale, completing that program with top honors. Once again, receiving his diploma left him with a vague feeling of emptiness and the thought that there must be more to life than this. When he received an invitation to join the prestigious law firm of his choice, his career was off to a good start. Then he and his wife designed and built their dream house. They looked forward to the day they would take possession; when that day came, there was no joy. There was an emptiness that career and marriage could not fill.
He looked straight at me. “At that time I met a businessman with a serenity about him that caught my attention. In a conversation over lunch one day, I asked him why he seemed so content with life. He is the one who introduced me to the resources that are available to us from God. And that’s why I am here to introduce you, Dr. Brandt.”
The attorney found the basic flaw in depending on activities and events: they eventually end and leave you empty.