The train tracks’ vibration rocked me to sleep, but the sudden stop and screeching of the breaks into the Paris train station jolted me awake. My brother announced that we had arrived in Paris and needed to get off the train. It was something like 5 or 6 when my brother, mom, and I started our walk to find our hotel. There was no bathroom break, no brushing of teeth, no breakfast, and no COFFEE. For some reason, my brother had an urgency to get out of the train station and start walking. We walked for nearly an hour in the cold rain before we found our hotel. By the time we reached our place of refuge, I was crabby, tired, and my feet hurt because I only brought one pair of shoes with me on my backpacking trip through Europe. Our room was on the hotel’s top floor and very small, almost like a bedroom doomer. From our window, if we turned our heads fully to the left, we could see the Eiffel Tower’s tip.
The year was 1993. My mom and I traveled to Switzerland to visit my brother who was there on an internship with Citibank. After spending a week in Switzerland, we began our backpacking trip through Europe, visiting France, and Italy, and several southern cities in Switzerland. The journey was magical. The experience was remarkable. The art, statues, architecture, countryside, and history were simply breathtaking.
I had received a rare gift to see other cultures and customs up close, to see the “old world” with my own eyes. Only, while I was ‘seeing’ with my eyes, I didn’t ‘appreciate’ with my heart. I was a young nineteen-year-old brat who complained that I was tired; I was hungry, my feet hurt. I don’t know how my brother and mom put up with me for the three weeks we were together. If my brother had it his way, he would have left me somewhere to fend for myself.
It wasn’t until years later that I truly appreciated the gift of my visit to Europe. The fact that I walked The Bahnhofstrasse in Zurich, saw the Eiffel Tower in Paris, and took a gondola ride on Venice’s canal streets was indeed an incredible opportunity for a nineteen-year-old. How much more would I have marveled at David’s statue, or contemplated why the leaning tower of Pizza hasn’t fallen over yet had I known the full value of where I was standing?
When you’ve been furloughed for months, and the world around you has dramatically and harshly changed, your mind tends to reminisce about the good ole’ days.
Today, I am finding myself in a similar situation of appreciation for another gift I took for granted. Just as I accepted a free trip to Europe in 1993, I accepted the free gift of salvation through Christ in 2001. Just as I complained in Europe that my feet hurt, I complained to Jesus that I was tired of following His word. Just as I returned from my trip abroad to my regular life, I returned to the sinful ways of regular life after walking with God for ten years. And Just as it took me years to appreciate my trip to Europe, It has taken me years to appreciate the beauty of my salvation through Christ.
Well, maybe not years, more like months. These last four months have been transformative for me as I seek a deeper relationship with the one true God. As the world around me screams in chaos, as statues topple, masks mandated, and an election looms, I sit in peace, knowing that my future is secure.
From a secular viewpoint, my future is ANYTHING but secure. COVID decimated the travel industry, so no going back to my old company. My furlough will be ending in two months. The job search is miserable, and the money will run out soon. Yet, each night I sleep soundly.
How is it possible with so much uncertainty in my own life and so much evil present in this world that I can be grateful to God for each day that passes?
There is a well-known passage in 1 Corinthians 2:9 that talks about how our eyes, ears, and minds cannot conceive what God has prepared for us. But the frustrating thing is most people stop at this verse and think we cannot know.
Keep reading: 1 Corinthians 2:10: “But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God.” I don’t know about you, but I think it is incredible that the God of all creation wants us, His Creation, to know God’s deep things.
Because I don’t have security in this world means I can find safety in God’s promises. The best part is God wants all of His creation to have shelter in His Son Jesus Christ. If you are struggling with anxiety and fear, and all seems lost, there is one more door to try.
Matthew 7: 7-8
7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.
As I travel through the scriptures to visit the events in History, I start a different kind of backpacking trip, and this time I take nothing for granted. I stand in awe of all that I see happening in the days of Noah Genesis 6-8, the statue of gold, silver, bronze, and Iron in the book of Daniel 2, and the promise of the appearing of our Blessed Hope in Titus 2:13. Jesus is real. His story is remarkable. His love, protection, comfort, peace, and countenance are utterly breathtaking.
Jesus is waiting for you with open arms.