Good morning! It is Wednesday, December 15, 2021. Jeanette Stark here. I missed you. My last writing was Monday the 6th. I have been on an adventure 😊
My youngest son Larry invited me to vacation with he and my two granddaughters. I jumped at the chance. We flew out of Medford Monday night with a straight shot to Burbank California.
We took a shuttle to our motel where my sister picked us up the next morning. We spent that day at Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia.
Now, I have a confession to make. I was under the impression that Magic Mountain was like a smaller version of Disney Land. I did not know it was a rollercoaster theme park! This granny stepped way out of her comfort zone and rode 5, huge, terrifying rollercoasters that day. It was a big day, and we did a lot of walking, a lot of screaming and a lot of “oh man! That was crazy!” talking.
Wednesday, we did something that my granddaughters had chosen. We took a Hollywood Bus tour. I must confess I felt a bit awkward as we drove by the homes of famous people. The driver would pull over so those on board could take pictures. It felt wrong. But I now know where Will Smith lives as well as Ice Tea, Ellen Degeneres, Sylvester Stallone, Tom Cruise, and others.
Thursday, we spent several hours at Knotts Berry Farm, where I rode the largest wooden roller coaster on the west coast. That is one ride I would never do again, but hey, I can say I did it.
Friday, we went to the Santa Monica Pier before taking my son and granddaughters back to the airport. I stayed until Monday afternoon with my sister up in the “high desert”. She graduated Saturday night with her Master’s in math and I was honored to be there as she was hooded and handed her diploma. She worked hard for that moment! She is now a math professor and will be teaching at California State University, San Bernardino. I am very proud of her.
Sunday, we did not get dressed but stayed in our jammies and vegged on her couch watching movies all day.
Monday afternoon I flew home and got right back to work yesterday.
I am glad I went. I made a lot of great memories with my son and granddaughters, and my sister, but the whole time I had a constant thought running through my head. “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”
I watched my granddaughter’s smiles and giggles and listened to their screams of delight and excited conversation. They were thrilled, but God has something much bigger planned for those who love Him. Much bigger than an amusement park.
People put a lot of thought, planning and money into attractions that will bring in the crowds. And perhaps a portion of that planning is truly for the enjoyment of those attending but I believe more so they are designed to get our money. Just like a casino. There are bells and whistles and shiny, blinking lights, but it is all designed to get our money.
It will be amazing when we can see, hear, and feel those things that God has planned for us. And He truly has no other motive than to make us happy for eternity.
I am glad I went, but the whole time I felt a bit out of place. Like that Hollywood bus tour. It felt fake and unrealistic, and I guess that is what theme parks and tourist attractions are all about: a time to step away from the day-in and day-out humdrum of life and have your adrenaline kick in. A time to forget your problems and spend money on junk food and souvenirs and just be happy. But…
That kind of happiness is short lived. God wants us to have a happiness that lasts forever. I believe we can have that happiness here and now. We do not have to wait until heaven to be happy.
I found the following on-line this morning and I would like to share it with you.
“Augustine of Hippo rightly stated in his fourth-century book Confessions, “Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee.” The truth is there is a “God-shaped vacuum” in the heart of every person, and that void can only be filled by God through Christ, not by any created thing. Happiness is a gift from God that can be fully known only in proper relationship with Him.
“God does want us to be happy, and He has provided all we need for life and godliness through Christ Jesus (2 Peter 1:2). He has designed the human heart to experience its greatest ecstasy in worship, its deepest satisfaction in serving, and its greatest love through the power of the Holy Spirit. When we are living in fellowship with Him, we can expect to be happy regardless of our temporary circumstances (Philippians 4:11–13). Our goal is the prize awaiting us in eternity, so we can endure earthly difficulties while remaining full of hope (2 Corinthians 4:17). When our joy and hope are based on that which cannot be taken away, we have found true happiness, and God is pleased.” (Source: gotquestions.org)
I heard a pastor friend once say, “It’s not just pie in the sky in the sweet by and by. It’s cake on your plate while you wait.”
Yes, God wants us to be happy here and now. We can find true happiness when we put our faith and trust in Him and at the same time look forward to that day when we will see with our own eyes what God has planned for us. And it will be mind-blowing!
“But as it is written:
“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,
Nor have entered into the heart of man
The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” - 1 Corinthians 2:9 NKJV