We just got back from a grand adventure 3 days ago. Hubby and I, along with all 5 kids (1 Autistic), a college student (babysitter/helper) and an adopted Grandpa went to Disney World. It was no small feat. The prep for it felt like we were planning an invasion. And we were. We came, we saw, we conquered. We are tired.
One of the first things I noticed as we pulled into Magic Kingdom on day 1 was that we had to choose which parking lot to park the van. The heroes lot? Or the villains lot? The kids all yelled, “heroes”. Who wants to be a villain anyway? Even at “The Happiest Place on Earth” there is the fight between good and evil.
I grew up in GA and anyone who grew up in GA knows the song, “The Devil Went Down to Georgia.” Well, I think he gave GA a break last week and he went down to Florida instead. Now don’t get me wrong, we had an incredible trip…..a dream come true, but my husband pegged it when we gathered the family for prayer in the morning before hitting the park on Disney Day 1. He told the kids that just because we were on vacation didn’t mean we’re taking a vacation from being Christians.
God is Satan’s enemy and we are His children and so Satan never takes a vacation from harassing us. The trouble with vacation is that we are out of routine and we are either rushed or lazy depending on where we go and who we are with. That lack of routine means that God sometimes doesn’t get the priority He normally would in our “regular” lives. If you go for several days without tapping into your source of strength then naturally Satan will come after you and maybe be more effective at it. Because we are on vacation and expecting everything to be flawless, those things tend to rattle us a little more.
So what to do? Well, if you are willing to spend time planning, saving and then packing and traveling to go on a trip, then you also need to spend some prep time being sure to put your armor on. Ephesians 6:11 says, “Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” Believe me friends, he schemes all the time and vacation is no different. And while you’re on your trip, stay plugged into the source. Leave off some of the activity if it leaves you exhausted and no time for prayer or time in God’s word. Get up early before everyone else. Stay focused.
While we were at Disney and traveling to get there and to get back we had lots of fun. But we had some challenges too. We were gone for TEN days. We left on Friday and returned the following Sunday. As the days wore on our bodies began to wear out and as we struggled to spend time with God in the midst of the crowds and chaos our nerves did too. By Wednesday morning I was thinking we need to refocus. At this point in the trip we had lost a camera, a wallet, a set of tickets and a phone (I’m not kidding). We also had 2 kids with fevers and we were only about half way through our travels. I knew if we focused on the problems and the things that went wrong then the Devil really does go on vacation…..our vacation. Or we could focus on thanksgiving. Satan would harass us, but whether or not he was victorious or not was totally dependent on what we did with that.
Here’s the verse that kept coming to mind: I Thessalonians 5:18 – “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” Sometimes we make God’s will too hard. Like looking for a needle in a haystack. Where should we go? What should we do? But as we read the scriptures, when they refer to God’s will it has more to do with how we act and who we are. So this I know…being thankful is God’s will. If I do God’s will I honor God. If I honor God, Satan loses.
So we thanked God for all the things that weren’t going right. Yes we did. And then we thanked Him for all the things that were. That day Satan didn’t rattle us. God got the glory. I wish I could say that was true every time, every day. I can’t. There was the good, the bad and the ugly, but I learned a valuable lesson in the midst of it. I saw first hand what victory looks like in thanksgiving. And I’m thinking that being thankful is a much better way to live than fretting and striving and fussing.
And I want to praise the Lord that the camera was found. The tickets were replaced. The phone was found………only to go swimming in the pool later in the week. But upon our return the phone store approved an upgrade for a new iphone even though it wasn’t time yet and the replacement was a much nicer phone for $1.06 with tax. I praise God that the lost wallet was my sons and only had about $60 cash and no information, credit cards, debit cards, etc which could have been much worse. I trust that it was an answered prayer for the person who found it. And if not, it’s not my problem. That’s between them and God. I’m thankful that we were under budget on gas and I was able to give my son that $60 back without it cutting into other budget items like food, parking, hotels, etc. I’m thankful my daughter with Autism (who has never slept well) was almost perfect and that she has progressed enough that we even considered taking this trip. Just 2 years ago there was not a chance on the planet that we would have even entertained such an insane idea. And for the most part, she slept, which meant I slept and didn’t have to do 5 days of Disney (to days of travel and vacation) on no sleep………….then they would think that I was the Devil! I’m grateful for the young lady who went along and helped with the kids so we could split up in the parks according to the kids ages and interests. It would have been so different without her. I’m thankful that the fevers broke and the sickness wasn’t serious and nobody was lost or hurt. I’m so grateful to catch up with a college friend that I haven’t seen in 13 years and who “happened” to be at Disney with her family the same week as we were there. How refreshing that time with her was. God is good. His grace is magnificent.
Does the Devil go on vacation? Yes. But not from you. With you. James 4:7 says, “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” The way to make him leave you alone is to submit to God. You can’t submit to God without following His will and plan. His will is to be thankful in ALL circumstances. Being thankful in all circumstances shows God that you trust Him. That’s how I want to live my life. Everyday. I never want to take a vacation from the truth. From thanksgiving.
Lord, it’s hard to do that. To be thankful all the time. To not come unglued when circumstances seem less than we desire. I can come unglued with the best of them. Help me to work toward victory. Help us to submit to your plan. Help us to be thankful. May YOU alone receive all the glory in our lives and never our enemy.
Blessings today friends,