Four pages on the calendar have turned since Mike left the hospital; it’s finally starting to feel like the crisis was a lifetime ago … at least on many days. Now we are at the start of a summer adventure that we’re calling our “Praycation”.
The initial plans started as a picture in our heads of driving through eight states and praying for our country … for people we meet … for getting a grasp on what the Lord might have for the two of us, that He has worked so miraculously on our behalf.
Rather quickly, changes emerged that will leave us visiting only four states, but we’ve determined to keep prayer as a reason for being on the road and out of our usual routine.
If there is a stairway to heaven, I think it is found on bended knees and with bowed heart. There is such a stir deep in me when heaven invades what started out as a simple, Dear Father … Getting started, though … it can be so hard. I don’t know why that is.
Teach me your decrees, O Lord; I will keep them to the end. Give me understanding and I will obey Your instructions; I will put them into practice with all my heart. Make me walk along the path of Your commands, for that is where my happiness is found. Give me an eagerness for Your laws rather than a love for money! Turn my eyes from worthless things, and give me life through Your word. Reassure me of Your promise, made to those who fear You. Help me abandon my shameful ways; for Your regulations are good. I long to obey Your commandments! Renew my life with Your goodness. Psalm 119:33-40
Yesterday was an example of feeling off. On our way to Spokane after a week with our family and now on to a week with friends, we were getting grumpy with each other. I needed a nap … but, wait, I’m the driver on this trip.
So … a short detour off the main highway, we found a coffee shop where Mike sought legal stimulates, and I snuck in the much needed quick snooze. Twenty minutes later, he came back with a heavenly iced tea and a story.
The woman in the shop had been very curious by the fact that we are in the midst of a month of traveling about “aimlessly” and kept asking questions. Mike wasn’t sure how to explain the praying part, so simply said that we were mostly visiting family and friends. She kept pressing though, so he tried explaining the Praycation.
“Really?” She lit up. “Oh my, thank you for praying. Please pray for our town . I’m so relieved to know that I am not the only one praying for our country.”
Something about her joy lifted us. Our many grumpy moments had left us wondering, “What are we really doing? We are so unspiritual much of the time … so ordinary.”
And there lies the real heart of our Praycation … along with all that we experienced with Mike’s collapse, we have felt so lost in a culture that appears whirling towards self destruction at a breakneck pace. We have felt useless at stopping the hurricane and feel utterly small in a loud, angry universe.
We don’t know what to do but pray.
So yesterday as we wound through the hills of Palouse country towards Spokane, we prayed for that little town with the coffee shop and for every additional town we passed. We prayed for those who might be lonely, those who feel directionless, those who are deeply troubled, and for those who are causing trouble. We prayed for town leaders and for churches and for schools. We prayed for families and for young people.
And as we prayed, we still felt ordinary … but the grumpy attitudes were squashed and the car filled with a wholly different sense … I think we may have sensed the pleasure of God.