Two weeks ago today, we were starting our meandering trip home after several glorious vacation days. The time away didn’t quite turn out like we’d planned at first. At the last minute, we found ourselves scrambling to make a backup plan. Well, a backup plan for us. I can’t help but think that it was actually God’s original plan.
Instead of staying in a hotel and with friends, all of which would have been a treat and fine and lovely, we ended up in a cabin on Tims Ford Lake in Tennessee. For three nights, we went to bed with every window open so we could sleep to the smells and sounds of the lake. For three mornings, we woke up to the calm quiet of springtime in a secluded location. Everywhere we went over the course of our four-day vacation, we had to drive through wide stretches of nature and farmlands. Every aspect of our environment spoke to our souls, filling and nourishing us.
Inevitably, every time we passed a church in the middle of that beautiful, peaceful environment, we joked, “Hey! We can see if they need a pastor so we can just live here!” It had nothing to do with wanting to move or leave our current church and start over. We really have no interest in doing that! But, the environment of the countryside we stayed in or drove through soothed, revived, and refreshed us in wonderful ways. And we just wanted to stay.
In truth, though, staying in a place that revived us momentarily would not have the same effect long term. Every time we are revived, we then come to the time when we must get back to work. We must take the refreshment and apply it to the task at hand. We cannot stay in a constant state of soothing. We were made to actively glorify God in everything we do, not just to soak up moments of nourishment.
This truth reverberates across all areas of our lives. Whether it’s a physical location, an emotional or mental state of being, a place of fellowship, or a period of spiritual illumination, none of these aspects of nourishment are meant to be our solitary state of being. We are meant to live, not simply absorb.
The beauty of life in Christ, though, is that we can have both simultaneously. Our nourishment and refreshment can come even in the midst of the work. Our space of beauty explodes from the Word of God and the handiwork of the Spirit all around us. Our filling comes from communion, true relational communion, with our Savior. Sometimes, yes, we need to physically get away from the noise of everyday life. But there is no need for getaway in our spiritual lives. God equips us to live every single day in the nourishment of His presence.
We lack, not because we need a spiritual getaway, but because we do not choose to live in His daily nourishment.
I would still love to live in a home built in the hills overlooking a lake. But, I don’t want to live a life of escape. I want to live a life daily nourished by my relationship with the Lord. Some days I do experience that life. Other days, I fail to rest in Him. But, that is my goal. That is my heart. And when I choose it, there is no lakeside home that could ever match the comfort of a Christ-enveloped life.