Saturday, April 7, 2018
While browsing through my junk emails, I spotted what appeared to be a good deal on a trip to Costa Rica. My husband and I have always heard of the pristine beauty of this country and had spoken of visiting one day, yet that day had never yet seemed to come.
And while I’m not a fan of bucket lists, I also had come to realize that zip lining was an adventure I had always longed to experience – a perfect blend of my love for “flying” (which partly explains why I so love Theatre Arts dancing) and for nature. There are several such attractions in Florida where we live, but somehow hanging suspended over alligators didn’t sound too appealing.
My husband was also intrigued by the opportunity to visit Costa Rica, but we both wondered whether we should spend the time and money, when there were so many pressing concerns in our lives at home that we needed to address. So we agreed to pray about it.
After a few days of prayer, I still had no clear sense of direction, so I asked the Lord to give me some sort of sign. Although Jesus spoke of the Pharisees as being a wicked and adulterous generation because they needed a sign (Matthew 16:4), His Word also promises to give wisdom liberally to all who ask Him (James 1:5).
Shortly after I prayed for confirmation from the Lord, I ventured onto Facebook, where the first post I saw pictured a wistful elderly woman with the caption beneath, “Do what you’ve always wanted to do today, for we are not promised tomorrow.” (James 4:14)
“That seems pretty clear, Lord,” I prayed. “Would you mind very much just sending me one additional confirmation?”
Now I felt like Gideon, asking God for yet another miraculous sign, except that I felt even more presumptuous as I was asking for guidance about whether or not to take a vacation, and not about a decisive battle that would affect the lives and destiny of many people (Judges 6:36-40).
But the Lord is interested in all our needs (Matthew 6; 10:29-31), and no matter is too large or too small to bring to Him in prayer (Philippians 4:6). If we don’t bring our prayer needs to Him, how can we expect Him to answer? (James 4:2-3)
So as I happened to check my emails, the most recent message was a solicitation from Barclay’s Bank, which caught my eye as Barclay is my maiden name, even though I am no relation.
“Make this the year you resolve to travel more,” said the message! I rushed out to tell Richard that God had sent me two clear confirmations that we should take this trip, even though they came from sources as unlikely as Facebook and a solicitation email.
It is true that God most often speaks to His children through His Word (Psalm 119:105), through sermon messages (Romans 10:17), and through Godly counsel (Hebrews 10:25; Proverbs 27:17). But we should not put God in a box and apply our expectations to His infinite powers, for He can also speak through dreams (Genesis 31:11), nature (Proverbs 6:6), and presumably even seemingly trivial communications crossing our desk, mailbox or computer screen.
We both then felt at peace about embarking on this journey and eagerly planned our stay and excursions. We continued to pray (1 Thessalonians 5:17) for safety and health while we were gone, both for ourselves and for our loved ones; for safe, smooth, comfortable travel; for pleasant accommodations, excursions, food, weather and company; and to grow closer to each other and to Him (James 4:8) as we experienced the majesty and beauty of His creation (Psalm 19:1).
Praise God, He answered every prayer! He allowed us to experience a land we had long dreamed of, to see a vast variety of wildlife in its natural setting, and to interact with pleasant people and to share God’s love with them (John 13:34-35). We distributed Gospel tracts carrying the message that all who trust in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ as the only Way (John 14:6) to Heaven will have eternal life (1 Corinthians 15:1-4; John 3:16).
The trip was a much needed opportunity for relaxation and continued restoration (1 Peter 5:7; Psalm 23:2-3) after a long period of stress and illness, and we are blessed and thankful that we interrupted our usual routine to take it, and to be still and know that He is God (Psalm 46:10).
We honor God when we turn to Him for guidance in all matters, great and small (Psalm 27:8), and I believe He honors His promises to answer prayer in the best possible way, from His perfect, omniscient, omnipotent viewpoint of infinite love. Jesus told us to seek, and we would find; to ask, and it would be answered; and to knock, and the doors of opportunity would be opened (Matthew 7:7-8).
As the zip line guide fitted me with heavy rigging before we sailed over the treetops, she asked if I had ever done this before, and if I were nervous. “This is my first time, and I’m not at all nervous, but I am praying a lot,” I answered truthfully, filled with the peace that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7).
This peace (Isaiah 26:3) carried me through some challenging moments on the zip line, such as when my body weight was insufficient to carry me to the next platform and I had to turn myself around on the cable, climbing hand over hand backwards along the cable to pull myself to my destination!
Perhaps being just a little closer to Heaven added.to the joy of experiencing the jungle canopy, the plunging descent of the waterfall beside us at one point, and the exhilarating feeling of flight. Praise God that He guides us, answers prayer, wants to bless us with good gifts (Matthew 7:11), and gives us richly all things to enjoy! (1 Timothy 6:17)
© 2018 Laurie Collett