One month ago I was discouraged.
I was trying to plan a summer trip to some sort of national park and was coming up short. Never having taken a family vacation outside of visiting family and two highly scheduled trips to Disney, I had no idea that lodging in popular national park destinations booked up so far in advance.
Dave and I spent hours scouring HomeAway.com and other travel sites looking for something … anything … anywhere. We didn’t even care which national site we visited. We just needed an accommodation large enough to house our big family for the very specific dates we had to travel due to Dave’s vacation time.
We felt like clueless idiots for waiting so long to plan a trip for dates we’d known about for months.
I called the national parks to check if there were cancellations, I broadened our options and even briefly considered camping. But sleeping in a tiny fabric dwelling next to the ruckus of 100 other families and their music, smoking, conversation and dogs sounds more like purgatory than a vacation.
I lamented to a friend that we learned a hard lesson and probably wouldn’t take a family trip this year after all. She furrowed her brow and asked if I’d prayed about it. I laughed and told her it never occurred to me to bother God with something so trivial as a frivolous family vacation. Especially since it was our own fault for waiting so long to book it.
You need to know, this friend is a prayer warrior. To tell her I didn’t pray about something is akin to telling her I didn’t brush my teeth … for the past month. It wouldn’t occur to her not to pray about this. So she grabbed my hands right there and poured out her heart to the Lord on our behalf.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. Philippians 4:6
Later that week Dave checked the home rental site once more as a last ditch effort. He noticed a four bedroom cabin in South Dakota that looked gorgeous and was just minutes from Custer State Park and all of the popular Black Hills sites. The property had wide open availability and we hadn’t seen it listed in any of our previous searches. We wondered if no one wanted it because something was wrong with the place, but inquired anyway.
We learned that the cabin was a brand new rental and the owner was just getting set up on the website. She was apologetic that the cabin actually wouldn’t be available because she didn’t think she could have it ready before our arrival date.
But after a series of emails and calls and our willingness to arrive a day later, the cabin was ours to rent. And not only that, the owner gave us a discount because a couple of bed frames and nightstands wouldn’t be delivered before we arrived.
We rolled in after a 15 hour drive. (Note: It should only take 11 – but we have four kids so just don’t even ask.) And the cabin took my breath away.
The entire property is a little oasis tucked into a hillside of towering pines and exposed rocks. On one side of the cabin is a secret garden overflowing with a riot of color from columbine, roses, irises so heavy they are tipping over and a winsome trellis-covered bench. The views of the mountains are incredible and easily viewed from the balconies off every room. The air is thick with the sweet scent of pine and the only sound is the wind whistling through the trees.
The cabin is artfully decorated with warm log furniture and filled with overstuffed couches and chairs in every nook and cranny. Floor to ceiling windows show off the mountains. And the pantry is stocked with everything from coffee to supplies for s’mores.
I stood on the deck taking in the breathtaking sights in every direction and a lump formed in my throat as I marveled that this property is more than I ever could have asked for.
And as the wind sang through the pines, God whispered into my soul the critical truth that I don’t get to decide what is trivial and what is weighty. He wants all of my cares and concerns laid before Him.
Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Matthew 6:26
I’m no fan of prosperity gospel. And I don’t believe God is some big slot machine in the sky. But there is no other explanation for this very cabin suddenly becoming available … it is a gift from a good Father.
And I am in awe at the Giver of all good gifts.
Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him! Matthew 7:7-11
God delights in giving the best to His children. Sometimes it’s a provision you never saw coming. Sometimes it’s a new friendship or a relationship restored. Sometimes it’s is a no to your request … protecting you from something unforeseen. And sometimes it’s a straight-up gift like a cabin better than you could have imagined.
But he wants us to seek him, to talk to him and trust him. With the big and the small issues in our lives. What a joy and comfort it is to know He will listen and answer.