With all that's happened in the last several years, the Family has had few opportunities and even less ability to get away for some rest and relaxation.
Several weeks ago we took full advantage of an extended weekend, packed up the car, and headed to Grand Marais Minnesota for a much needed getaway.
It was so nice to leave our cares behind for a little while. There have been so many "cares."
We enjoyed some of the usual things, hiking in the crisp fall air.
Some silliness. One of my favorite things.
Breathtaking sunsets and sunrises!
Walks along the shore collecting rocks.
Crazy, I know. But we could spend hours looking at rocks!
Who knew rocks could be so interesting??
A good portion of our time can easily be spent searching for heart shaped rocks. I have no idea why this started, but whoop there it is.
In years past we've found some pretty good ones.
We had less luck this trip. This little rock was the best we could find.
I may have been, maybe just a little, lamenting this lack of good heart shaped rocks when I found this little wonder.
I nearly passed it up as it was not what I wanted. Not what I had been searching for.
I wanted a good heart shaped rock, not a rock with a heart shaped drip of water on it.
Yet, something pulled me back.
I decided to just take a quick photo of it. Then I thought that, while it wasn't what I'd been searching for, it was indeed a heart shape and worth sharing with the Family before that precious little drop of water dried up.
I scooped up that stone and showed the family. They thought it was pretty cool!
Silly thing was, and I like me some silly things, I couldn't put it down. I tucked it into my pocket. I knew the heart shaped drop of water would dry up and disappear. I decided I would toss it back on the ground once it did.
But it never did.
To my great delight and surprise that little heart on that tiny rock never disappeared after the rock was dry.
It remains even now. I keep it in a dish with other rocks we've collected over the years.
We often have expectations about how life should be. Life often misses the mark. It can be so easy to decide that hard experiences in life mean a lack of love on God's part. That God is not coming through for us.
If people we love get sick, or die, we wonder how a loving God would allow such a thing.
If a job is lost we wonder how a loving God could allow such hardship.
If disaster strikes, or people are unkind, or when unthinkable things happen it can be so easy to wonder, maybe even demand to know, HOW COULD A LOVING GOD!?!
But God has not promised us ease in this life.
"I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world." John 16:33
Our loving God promises to give us peace when we keep our focus on Him and trust Him. (Isaiah 26:3)
Our loving God promises to heal the brokenhearted. (Psalm 147:3)
God promises us He will work things together for our good when He calls us to a purpose. (Romans 8:28) Please note that this verse does not promise all things will feel good! Also note that I have not been above praying that God would revise this verse to say all things will feel good!
God has promised His love to us in so many ways, the greatest of which...
But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were yet sinners Christ died for us! Romans 5:8
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life! For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved. John 3:16-17
This little stone was not what I was looking for. It was not what I expected. It was not what I wanted to find. But it was good! It's become a gentle reminder to me to stop looking for God's love to meet my expectations.
My circumstances are not the measure of God's love for me.
What God does, the fulfilling of the promises He has made, that is the measure of His love!
My expectation that He do what He never promised to do is not a lack of love on God's part.
God's love is sacrificial! It is full of grace and mercy! His love is sometimes surprising! We will see it in wonderful and unexpected ways if we are willing to give up our expectation of how we think it should look.
Without a doubt, God's greatest gift of love is the eternal Happily Ever After for those who choose Him!
Amen and Amen!