Detours and Delights

Keep company with God,
    get in on the best. (Psalm 37:4 The Message)

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jellyfish floating near our boat in the gulf (taken near Panama City Beach)

This one photograph cannot even begin to capture my gratitude for this adventure. Words could never give all the credit due to our dear Father, Creator, Saviour, Friend, Guide and Provider. God’s company is the best gift ever.

The hallmark of this time away has been a very heightened awareness of His companionship and delightful goodness.

I’m becoming more and more aware of the calendar and the clock again. Counting down the days and moments until I have to say good-bye. Yet, I am ready to transition back to the cherished community at home.

I have so enjoyed sharing our adventures with stories and photos.

As Les and I say each morning: “We’re still in Florida!” So, let me get back to the sharing.

Thursday marked the end of a few prime beach days. I hoped to get an early start to bike over to Honeymoon Island, but I had to wait for Les to get out of a meeting.  Mid-morning he started to hand me the bike from the boat to the dock, when we noticed the tire was flat. And not just flat, but blown out. Not to be deterred, I decided I could walk the few miles to the beach. It would take longer, but I could still spend most of the day on the beach.

It seemed a like a lot of work, but then I reminded myself that I wasn’t in a hurry, no agenda, no worries. As I walked, I noticed the sun tinting the water in turquoises, blues and indigos. It was warming up nicely, and I was even breaking a sweat just walking.

For a brief moment, I allowed myself to grumble about the bike. But then I remembered that I could pause and sit on a bench with no deadline to meet. I didn’t have to get to the beach by a certain time.

My companion seemed to be saying “just enjoy the walk, and we will enjoy the beach when we get there.” As I settled into the pace, phrases started popping into my head and I would snap a photo. (I posted these on Facebook as a way to record my thoughts.) Little mental signposts along the journey to the beach.

Here are some of the thoughts I collected:

It doesn’t matter where you live, just live where you are at.

Enjoy your life it’s the only one you have.

Your life is your cause…your purpose…your reason for living.

It was fun to listen for what God was wanting to say to me, while walking to the beach. I was thankful for the detour, which turned into a delightful time enjoying God’s presence. The beach was beautiful that day. I thought I might sit in one place and read from Isaiah. I challenged myself to read the entire book in one day. It took all day and into the evening, but I read it eleven chapters at a time.

Why am I sharing this tidbit from my day? Not to impress you, but because it was an activity that I hadn’t done in awhile, reading a whole chunk of Scripture. At first it seemed like too much to tackle, but breaking it down into sections helped. To me Isaiah is like reading an epic poem or adventure drama, like The Illiad or The Lord of the Rings. The cultural context reminded me of those stories where you need a map and a glossary of the character names to both pronounce them and keep their roles straight. (Les and I are looking forward to the adventure of discussing this grand prophetic book with our adult Bible class this semester, when we return.)

All that to say, God is the best. To read with Him rather than to fulfill some reading checklist was refreshing. When I approach the Bible from the literary perspective, I am more likely to read it more thoughtfully and with fresh eyes. I am thankful for the many approaches God allows us to engage with the Scriptures. And to be honest, my engagement with the written word has been very sporadic and snackish.

A little detour of the heart, but the Father’s desire as revealed by Isaiah shows that He longs for us to return to Him no matter what. His wrath, judgement and discipline can seem harsh, as we read the narrative in Isaiah or other selections, but His underlying cry is “Please come home! I made all of this for you to enjoy, why do you keep choosing these hand carved gods? Why do you refuse my love?” It may seem easy for me to say this because I’m in this beautiful place with little distraction or distress, but it doesn’t matter if life is going well or giving us hell, God wants our best. He wants our company.

His creation invites us to see the wonders He made for us. Here’s some photographic proof of His love:

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4 thoughts on “Detours and Delights

  1. So true! God is calling us come home and we often choose to live in a landfill instead. Beautiful pictures once again! And soon you will be back home. Looking forward to seeing your beautiful face!

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