A few weeks ago, we were on vacation in the Outer Banks. If you are familiar with the area, you know that there are two primary roads running through Kitty Hawk, Nags Head, etc. There is the Beach Road, which, as you probably can guess, runs closer to the water. And, there is the Bypass, which, as you probably can guess, has more lanes and a higher speed limit. From time to time, we would run out to the bypass to get somewhere. Each time that we did, we passed a church with a sign out front that said "Don't Take a Vacation from God - Services 9am 11am."
I've been thinking about that sign a lot lately. I realize that I did not write here at all during the month of August. When you look at the general drop off in the number of posts each month over time, that is not very good, either. I'm not out of ideas for posts - to the contrary, I just keep writing ideas down on a little notebook. I just don't actually take the time to write them out here.
I also have now fallen weeks behind in my One Year Bible (I am on August 13). I haven't completely stopped worshiping in the morning - I still take time to pray and read a short devotional before I start working - but I am taking less time and not reading the Bible.
What does it mean? Am I Taking a Vacation from God?
I have been very busy at work, and I do have the general impression that it is going to be very important to stay busy and get as many others busy as possible, but I haven't cut out or shortened morning exercise.
I recently read something that I have heard many times before - "Show me your checkbook and what you do every day, and I will tell you where your priorities are - no matter what you say." It kind of made me angry. Does the fact that I spend too much time at the office mean that I care more about my work than my family? Does the fact that I have jumped into working earlier in the morning mean that I am putting work before God?
The thing is, I don't think it works that way. I need to keep clients and colleagues happy at work so that I can have the opportunities with my family that we are able to have. It has been said more than once that "the law is a jealous mistress . . . ." (Joseph Story 1829 lecture at Harvard Law School)
I think God understands (and of course He knows). God certainly warns us not to worship false idols and the Old Testament shows His reaction to that on multiple occasions. God definitely does not want us to turn our backs on Him, and He will do whatever it takes to try to prevent that. But, ultimately, we are called into a relationship with God and Jesus. Of course we worship and give praise, but I think it really needs to be more than that. for most of my life I never would have even dreamed of saying this, but I feel like I have such a relationship.
While it is different than a friendship and I do not want to denigrate the relationship in any way, I am still going to use the analogy. Friends love each other. Friends want to spend time together in fellowship. Friends want to hear about problems, fears, questions and successes. But, friends understand the sometimes the amount of contact fades for a while. Friends are happy when it picks back up and are not angry about the fact that phone calls and emails got shorter and less frequent for a while.
I think God feels the same way. I don't think that I have taken a vacation from God. I think of a vacation as an escape, or getting away from something. I do recognize that I have not been paying as much attention to the relationship as I should. I do recognize that I feel better when I do pay more attention to growing that relationship. But, God is not angry. While it is not an excuse to ignore Him, or to go off and do whatever I want to do, I know that God is waiting with His arms opened wide and a happy smile on His face. And I know that even when I am not noticing, He is holding my hand.
That gives me great comfort.