Vacation For The Soul

Cheryl and I just came back from a week of vacation. Whew! Sixteen hundred miles of family and fun. The piled-high laundry, wear on the car, or toll roads can’t take away the joy.

Vacations are a great time to affirm the beauty and value of loved ones and friends, to have extended time with them for slow conversations, and for slow, warm cups of coffee. Sleeping in a few times was itself a luxury and rich gift from the Father. Florida and Georgia creation glories enveloped us. Lots of time just with Cheryl was indescribably wonderful during the nine days away. This time, we again proved we are increasingly and joyfully comfortable and safe and happy just being together. I found myself constantly darting minute prayers of thanksgiving for all these things.

Vacations can provide special moments with God, too. Reading the Psalms and a commentary one morning, I enjoyed Psalm 111 and its call to remember and worship the LORD for His great works. They were constantly all around me on vacation, just as they are daily here at home. His works in creation and life are “splendid and majestic,” including His “righteousness endures forever” (v 3). These are the joy of promised relief in a troubling and troubled world wherever we live. “His wonders,” the Psalmist notes, remind us of His grace and compassion (v. 4). Fabulous!

And then an “Aha” moment came my way that marked my time away as unforgettable. In the Psalm, the unnamed author singles out the unique benefits for those who “fear” (revere) God. Yes, all creation and her creatures enjoy “common grace.” But “His people” (v. 6, 9)—people of faith who trust and worship and live for Him alone—enjoy promised provisions (v. 5), an understanding and appreciation of God’s power and promised inheritance (v. 6), “redemption” (rescue), and wisdom for life (v. 10). I especially need more wisdom, don’t you?

Let’s talk about the fear of the Lord. One commentator noted the fear in Psalm 111 is not the debilitating, trembling, elementary fear of situations and people (though that is a benefit to followers of Christ), but is the primary, “comprehensive,” overarching life of true godliness and worship of God. Our life is both gathered with others as we praise God and private when we worship in thanksgiving for the glorious works of God in us and around us. “Nothing is more profitable…than to spend [our] lives in the celebration of the praises of God.”

Only rebels live in terrifying fear of God. Followers of Christ have this promise, “For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” (Romans 8:15).

Please: Get away sometime or someplace—even daily—and give thanks to God for the works and wonders of Christ.

It will be a vacation for your soul.

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