Vacation by Greg Mattson

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“In your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” “Whom have I in heaven but you?  And there is nothing on earth I desire besides you.  My flesh and heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and portion forever.”

                                                                                                   Psalm 16:11; 73:25-26

 My family and I had the blessing of being able to take a vacation down South over the last few weeks.  We first went on a long road trip to Phoenix, Arizona to spend a week with my parents.  The weather was sunny and in the 70’s.  We spent time hiking and riding ATVs in the desert as well as time with my dad and mom which was a real blessing.  The days flew by and it was time to climb back into the car and hit the road to return to the POLAR VORTEX!

 Our return was made easier by knowing that the following week we were going to Florida for a week with good friends.  While Wisconsin experienced ice and snow, we enjoyed sunshine and 80-degree weather. Time was spent swimming, going to the beach, fishing and boating as well as walks without coats.  Once again, the week flew by and we boarded a plane to fly back home.  We left the warmth and beaches to return home to -10 degrees and snow.

 I had been waiting awhile for this opportunity and it was awesome, but in a blink of an eye it was over.  All the anticipation and excitement were gone in what seems like moments.  I was left with the desire to return to what I had long waited for but instead was faced with the reality of life and all the responsibilities of daily living.  I am left with great memories of time spent in the sun with friends and family and hopefully there will be more of that.

 The mild sadness of returning from vacation is a common sentiment I’ve experienced in the past.  I’m sure you can all relate.  It seems we wait so long for that trip, often counting down the days prior to leaving only to find that time seems to accelerate while on vacation.  We spend a life time awaiting retirement and then before you know it it’s come.  As we get older, we realize that vacation is really a microcosm of life.  Before you realize it, it’s coming to an end.  I would like to interject here that I had an older patient tell me “Life is like a roll of toilet paper, the closer to the end the faster it goes!”

 I’m wondering, after being in Florida, what it would be like to spend winter down there every year?  Would it be like a constant vacation?  Boy, I could get some fishing done!  How many times are we left with the feeling “if only I had ____, then I would be fulfilled.”

 To get an answer to this question, I would point towards Ecclesiastes.  King Solomon wrote “So I became great and surpassed all who were before me in Jerusalem.  Also, my wisdom remained with me.  And whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them.  I kept my heart from no pleasure. Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had expended in doing it, and behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun.”

 King Solomon, author of Proverbs, known as one of the wealthiest and smartest kings to ever live, yet all his wisdom and wealth didn’t satisfy.  He considered his life as it came to an end as nothing more than simply vanity.

 If the wealthiest and smartest man with all the worldly treasures didn’t find satisfaction, in what direction are we supposed to look?  If you attend New Life, you will hear every week that we are to look to Jesus.  It is in Him alone that happiness and eternal satisfaction is found.  Psalms points this out, “In your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”  The word fullness doesn’t mean just some joy.  It’s the type of joy that lasts for eternity — not just a short week like a vacation or a season of retirement.  The reward isn’t a condo in the sun or an endless supply of money.  It’s infinitely greater.  It’s living in the presence of our Savior and experiencing the pleasures that only He can give, both now in our earthly lives and forever in heaven!  Jesus is the ultimate treasure.  One that has and will always satisfy.  He is our refuge, security and our Joy!

 “Whom have I in heaven but you?  And there is nothing on earth I desire besides you.  My flesh and heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and portion forever.”  May we all dwell on this and wait with great anticipation an eternity with our Savior.  This will far exceed any retirement or vacation.

                                                                                In Christ, greg

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