Rest Stops

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Then they came to Elim, where there were twelve springs and seventy palm trees, and they camped there by the water. – Exodus 15:22

Since our daughter settled in South Carolina, seven hundred miles away, my husband and I used to make the twelve-hour drive to visit with her and her family two or three times a year. At our age, long trips are easier to take if we make frequent stops to rest and avoid road weariness.

Thousands of years ago, the Israelites also had a long trip to make. One million men, women, and children left the bondage of Egyptian slavery and trekked across a barren wilderness where there was little to eat or drink, and where they were exposed to rain, wind, sun, and storms, headed for a land flowing with milk and honey. Along the way, they got tired, thirsty, hungry, and discouraged.

But they were on a faith-growing journey, and the One who led them had many lessons to teach them. They failed test after test. Just when they were in the deepest despair and discouragement, hope dwindling and faith faltering, God intervened—with manna from heaven, water from desert rocks, and an oasis with twelve springs of water and seventy palm trees.

I’m sure the weary travelers would have loved to pitch their tents and stay at that oasis the rest of their lives. But eventually they had to move on. The oasis wasn’t their destination.

The Israelites’ journey through the wilderness is a picture of our journey through life. Once the shackles of our bondage to sin are broken, we begin our journey to the Promised Land – Heaven. We, too, struggle through the wilderness, which, just like the Israelites’ journey so long ago, takes up most of the trip. And we, too, encounter oases sprinkled along the way. But we cannot abide in the rest stops. They are there to provide a temporary respite from the difficulties of life, refresh our minds and spirits, and renew our strength.

Sometimes I’d like to find an oasis and move in permanently. But God calls me to venture into the wilderness on a faith-growing journey. And, just like with the Israelites, He will be with me every step of the way.

Thank You, Lord, for the wilderness that stretches my faith and the oases that refresh me and give me the strength to journey on. Amen.

Read and reflect on Exodus 15:22–16:1

From God, Me & a Cup of Tea: 101 devotional readings to savor during your time with God © 2017 Michele Huey.

Expect an Adventure!

God will put his angels in charge of you to protect you wherever you go. –Psalm 91:11 GNT

 As I write this, I’m in the midst of packing for a short camping trip. I plan to do nothing for three days but rest, read, relax, crochet, and eat. Which is why I made potato salad, chicken soup, chicken salad, and a dinner casserole beforehand—so any cooking and cleaning up while on the trip is minimal. Very minimal. Like almost nonexistent.

If the weather cooperates, I might consider a short, non-challenging (meaning a flat, easy trail of no more than a mile, round trip) hike if DH talks me into it. But don’t tell him.

We both need a break from the in-depth projects we’ve been working on, from juggling too many things at the same time. He’s loaded his fishing gear, and I my books, magazines, Kindles, and current crochet project.

Even though I envision sitting with my feet propped up all day, I’m realistic enough to know that “life is what happens while you’re making other plans.” (Thank you, John Lennon, for that marvelous quote!) The countless trips we’ve taken over the years—and the many misadventures that went with them—have taught me to go with the flow. There are times you swim against the current and times you go with it, making the best of things and enjoying the unexpected experience.

Perhaps the misadventure has a purpose: to teach a lesson, reveal a new perspective, deepen compassion, expand understanding, or (ugh!) grow patience.

Take our month-long trip to the Pacific Northwest last year.

All did not go according to plan—and, believe me, we planned ad nauseum.

We had wonderful adventures along with some interesting misadventures. Like when we had to cut the day’s travel time short because Dean got dehydrated and couldn’t drive another mile. Thankfully one of our travelling companions was a former EMT.

Or when my lower back went out, and I literally shuffled (and suffered) for two days—one of which was spent touring a museum. Thankfully, our other travelling companion had brought along his back therapy paraphernalia and loaned it to me. My pain lessened, and I was able to move around better a lot sooner than I usually do when my back gives me issues.

Then there was the blown camper tire on I-80 just past Chicago that required four new tires before we could continue our journey home. The state trooper who stopped to help us directed us to a Walmart only a few miles away, where we stayed the night before getting the new treads—and where a former Marine stopped and chatted with DH, also a veteran of the USMC.

I always wear my angel necklace when we travel. And we always pray when we set out on a trip for God to protect us. I envision God’s angels surrounding us, being that shield around us. Yes, God’s angels were right there in each so-called misadventure—the former EMT, the friend with the back stuff, the state policeman, the USMC vet.

Perhaps the most important lesson I’ve learned through these so-called misadventures is who’s really doing the driving on this trip called life. And when He’s got the wheel, as my friend DiAnn Mills likes to say, expect an adventure!

Thank You, Lord, for the wonderful trip of life, for the adventures and misadventures, and for Your abiding presence, abundant provision, and able protection through them all. Amen.

Read and meditate on Psalm 91.

© 2018 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.