My Presence will go with you. – Exodus 33:14 (NIV)
Throughout all their journeys, whenever the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the people of Israel would set out. But if the cloud was not taken up, then they did not set out till the day that it was taken up. –Exodus 40:36–37 NASB
I’m a city girl born and raised, but a country girl at heart.
This truth was never more apparent than on our vacation this summer—not a rest-and-recharge vacation, but a “see as much as we can in the four weeks we have” vacation. We pulled our 29-foot fifth-wheel camper nearly 7,000 miles through 15 states. We rarely stayed more than one night anywhere. Most of the time we stayed at RV parks.
I learned there’s a difference between an RV park and a campground.
An RV park is where you park your RV. It has electric, water, and sewage hookups. It may have a fire ring (a place for a campfire), but it may not. It may have a picnic table, or it may not. You don’t have a campsite, you see— you have a parking space, and most often a gravel one. Not grass.
It’s not a place to set up and settle in. It’s a place to park your RV while you visit the sights or just spend the night between long stretches on the road.
A campground, on the other hand, is a place to settle in and relax. You have grass, trees, fire ring, and a picnic table on a site that isn’t merely a parking space.
Oh, you can probably guess which one we prefer.
But travelers need both, depending on the journey.
Isn’t that just like life?
Just as God guided the Israelites through the wilderness to the Promised Land, God leads us through this wilderness we call life to our Promised Land—Heaven.
Sometimes He has us stay in one place for a while. Sometimes we want to settle in and stay there. But eventually we have to move on because that is not our destination. God has much more for us to see and experience. More than we could ever dream of.
Sometimes we don’t’ want to stay. We’re itching to get out of there and move on. But God says, “Not yet.” In His time—His perfect time—we will move on.
Other times He pushes us forward, mile after mile, day after day. But, remember, we travel on His timeline, His route, His map, His agenda.
He has a plan and purpose for our sojourn on earth that go far beyond what we can imagine –“far more than we would ever dare to ask or even dream of—infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, or hopes” (Ephesians 3:20 TLB).
Although it wasn’t our style of vacation and the entire trip extended us beyond our comfort zone, we had a fabulous time. We experienced parts of the country we’d never before dreamed of visiting. We learned more history on that trip than we have our entire lives—history that will stick with us because we were there.
We are campground folks. We like the wide-open spaces, the slower paces. We like to settle in and explore the area.
And so we shall. We’d like to spend a week or so exploring Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. And visit as many lighthouses as we can. (I’m a lighthouse freak.)
And I want to spend time in the Colorado Rockies and see the sights on horseback.
Dreams don’t die as we grow older. Instead, they grow bigger and better.
And they challenge us to step out of our comfort zones, push aside the fears that hold us back, and live to the fullest the life God has given us—whether we’re moving on or settled in.
Thank You, Father, for both the moving on times and the settling in times. Thank You that You have a purpose for each one. Amen.
Read and meditate on Exodus 13:21; 40:36–37
(c) 2017 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.