Picture your favorite vacation spot. Make sure it’s the one with the most dramatic, scenic landscape. In other words…not Gary, Indiana. I hope there’s an ocean there…or mountains. Maybe both? if you’re really smart I bet there’s palm trees and Jimmy Buffet there too, right now, as you’re picturing it.
You know that place where you’ve stood time and time again and probably said something like this, “I could wake up to this EVERY single day of my life and NEVER get tired of it”.
Well, I’m here to tell you…that’s a load of crap.
It may take longer than usual, but sooner or later that scenery wouldn’t trump your complaining. That breathtaking landscape wouldn’t be the escape it is right now in your mind. That’s why it’s so powerful. YOU AREN’T USED TO IT. When we get used to something that beautiful, our eyes become calloused. It’s not that we don’t appreciate the beauty, or even respect it and gaze upon it…but over time…we just plain expect it. We’re not surprised by it anymore. Your therapeutic, much needed retreat will slowly blend into the background of your everyday life.
I have friends that live up North where I go with the guys a few times a year. It’s absolutely stunning, the way the aqua clear, cold northern water lays up against the white rocks as pine trees jet magically from nowhere. Peace and quiet, not a soul in site. Man, I wish I was there right now, starring at it. Taking one of my patented naps in the middle of the woods while the sun is hitting me just enough to keep me warm and the wind that’s whipping around the tree tops makes a perfect sound to fall asleep to but never creeps down low enough to make me cold. WHOA! You lost me there for a second…
Anyway, about my friends that live up there and stare at that beauty every single day of their lives: They prove my point. They don’t even see it. They’re busy with life. My precious retreat of amazing, recharging, healing, tortellini soup for the busy pastors soul…is smack dab in the middle of their problems, their vocations, their busy family life, their running kids back and forth to school.
My oasis can literally be seen as they sit at their breakfast table, 30 feet from the waters edge.
Forget me, go back to your place.
You know the story of Lazarus. Read these verses from John Chapter 11.
11 After saying these things, he said to them, "Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I go to awaken him."12 The disciples said to him, “Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will recover.”13 Now Jesus had spoken of his death, but they thought that he meant taking rest in sleep.14 Then Jesus told them plainly, "Lazarus has died,15 and for your sake I am glad that I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.”16 So Thomas, called the Twin,t said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”
You totally just skimmed that, so go back and read verses 14-15.
Did you catch that? Jesus says FOR YOUR SAKE, I’m glad it worked out this way (that the Laz Man went ahead and died), so you can completely be amazed, surprised, inspired and renewed when we all head back there and I proceed to, you know…bring him back TO LIFE.
Think about it. Had they been around the Lazinator as he was dying it would have inevitably been a yawn fest as Jesus, the Son of God found yet another creative way to heal him. Sadly the only thing keeping the disciples awake apparently, when Jesus was healing someone of a terminal illness, was the guessing game on HOW he would do it. Spit in some dirt and rub it on them? Grab an olive branch and slap them in the face with it? Take off his Jesus sandals and dance around them 3 times while juggling 3 fish?
Just when you think I’m taking this too far in my speculation…RE-READ verse 15 up there ^^.
Apparently Jesus knew these guys were so used to seeing Him suck cancer and aids away from people that every once in a while, even the disciples needed a good ‘old fashioned death raising.
I bet there’s a lot of things Jesus has been doing in your life lately that you’re just plain used to. It’s ok, those blessings have just turned into my oasis up north, and you’re my friends that live there…innocently used to God.
Every once in a while GOD KNOWS He needs to give us something that will REALLY make us believe, or be inspired, or be healed, or be rejuvenated.
If you’re desperately needing that right now, get un-used to His blessings. Take a step back and be grateful. Let the part of you that EXPECTS things from God….die.
Just like vers 16 up there says…sometimes we have to ‘die’, to keep His retreat inside of us fresh and inspiring…every single morning the sun comes up.