There are certain sounds, that when you hear them, you know right away that you are in trouble. Sounds like gunshots, your momma calling you out by your full name, car horns real close, and in this particular instance; the sound of the front door slamming and my wife’s work bag hitting the floor.
It was definitely my wife’s voice, but I didn’t recognize the “I’m going to kill the next person I see” tone she was using. I thought seriously about making a run for it, but I knew I was too fat to get away. So instead, I mustered up the courage to ask her how her day had been.
“You don’t have a clue! You couldn’t even imagine if you tried. It was absolutely horrible. I just need to get away for a few days. I need a vacation. I need rest.”
Now this is where most husbands would have messed up. Most would have asked what happened. Not me, I didn’t need bloody details. I just jumped on the vacation bandwagon as quick as possible.
“Let’s go camping! The weather is gorgeous and I am sure the trout will be biting. We can stop on the way and get you a new book.”
She agreed that a camping trip in the mountains, full of rest and relaxation, would do the trick. The only problem... we had never had a vacation full of rest and relaxation. Never! It was not because we hadn’t tried. We had picked beautiful locations. We had spent good money, but rest had never been found.
It all started with our honeymoon. We planned a cruise in the Caribbean. It was beautiful, for about 24 hours. We started cruising for the Grand Cayman Islands, and as if I were Jonah, a great cloud starts to form. Deck chairs begin to blow off into the ocean. People start running inside. We never got to port in the islands because of a horrible tropical storm.
After that was Valentine’s Day. I thought a secluded cabin in the Great Smokey Mountains would just be perfect. The first night, we went upstairs to sleep. Ten minutes later, we heard him. My wife had not shut the back door. I guess the bear wanted a midnight snack and decided to rummage through our kitchen on the bottom floor. We hid in a closet until sunrise. Thank God, nobody found us dead. There I was in nothing but my underwear holding a sock full of billiard balls and a fire extinguisher. It wasn’t a pretty sight.
Our last camping trip had been cut short by a tornado. If you have never driven a 1971 VW Microbus in a tornado, take my word for it, it’s not restful. We’ve spent more than one vacation broken down on the side of the road. The highlight of our Charleston trip was a third degree sunburn and bedbugs at the hostel. I could keep going, but you would probably start to believe I’m making this stuff up. The point is we have never had a restful vacation. But in a turn of events that only God could orchestrate, we were about to get a crash course on rest…literally.
We decided to go camping at a beautiful creek side spot in Western North Carolina. I found our spot, threw the old VW Bus in reverse, and proceeded to back straight off a three foot ledge. When the angels looked down from heaven to see what the commotion was, all they saw was a VW symbol and two headlights shining straight up at them. My wife spoke first.
“What are you gonna do?”
I pulled two lawns chairs out and said, “Absolutely, nothing. There is nothing I can do.”
It didn’t take long to realize we didn’t have a cell phone and nothing but bottled water, baked beans and peanut butter sandwiches to eat. We were helpless. There was absolutely nothing we could do for ourselves, so we rested. I fished. She read a whole book. We talked. We listened to the creek tumbling over the rocks.
That’s when we finally realized what Jesus meant by “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest”(Matthew 11:28 NASB). If you want true rest, you must come to Jesus, helpless as a little child. Saying… “There is nothing I can do for myself. I need a vacation. I need rest. I need you Jesus.”
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