As I write this (February 2022), my wife and I should be in Hawaii. As we age, our bones dislike the cold of Canadian winters more and more, and we try to get away each winter to somewhere warm. This past winter we had planned on spending some time in Hawaii… But for Omicron and the accompanying travel bans…
As the snows continue to fall outside — My wife and I shoveled another 20 cm (8 inches) of the fresh stuff off our property this morning — our hearts continue to yearn for somewhere warm. Somewhere where snow doesn’t fall, even in the winter. Somewhere where there is sunshine, where we don’t need to wear a coat, where we could maybe even go for a swim in the ocean… Somewhere like … Hawaii …
After resting up from this morning’s driveway full of snow, I decided to go on the computer for awhile. Imagine my delight to run across pictures of Leleiwi Beach Park, on the big island of Hawaii. It is in the town of Hilo, actually, and it consists of a series of natural ponds, inlets and coves fronted by a handful of small rock islets. The “Sea wall” lines most of the length of the beach, but there is a small pocket beach at the base of the wall where the water enters and exits the bay. The ponds are apparently lava rock pools, and some of them are fed by freshwater springs. The beach itself is shallow and protected, and due to the many tropical fish and other marine life in the bay, it is a popular snorkelling spot. In fact, the article I was reading suggested that you might be joined in your swim by green sea turtles who are particularly friendly with swimmers! Add to all that a description of palm trees, picnic tables and pavilions…
Sounds dreamy, doesn’t it?
As I compare this travel brochure to the harshness of fresh snow on my driveway, I realize that it wouldn’t be hard to become depressed. I mean, why shouldn’t I be in my snorkelling gear at Leleiwi Beach Park instead of having a snow shovel frozen to my gloves? It just isn’t fair!
There is another way to look at it, however: The Bible way! “Rejoice always, prayer continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thess. 5:16-18 NIV). Yup! That does mean that while I am passing yet another winter shoveling snow, I am advised to rejoice and give thanks! No, I don’t need to rejoice and thank God for the fact that we couldn’t go to Hawaii. Rather, I need to rejoice in the blessings that God has given to me, and thank Him for each one! Despite the fact that we couldn’t go to Hawaii!
What is your bad situation? More than likely it is far worse than mine. You may be facing the death of a loved one, for example. How can God expect you to rejoice and give thanks when your loved one is gone? No, God isn’t telling us to rejoice and be thankful that our loved one died. He is simply reminding us that despite this, He continues to bless you, to hold you up, to comfort you. He wants us to rejoice and be thankful for the wonderful years we had with our loved one. He wants us to realize that no matter what our circumstances, He is always there, ready to be real to us, to draw us to Him, to grant us the privilege of experiencing Him. Hasn’t He said, “From his abundance we have all received one gracious blessing after another” (John 1:16 NLT)?
Hum. Okay, true enough we are stuck in Canada instead of sunning ourselves at the Leleiwi Beach Park in Hilo, Hawaii; but God has given me a warm house. He has given me strength to shovel the driveway. He has drawn me near to Him and helped me to learn about Him. He has shown me the beauty of winter. He has … Well you get the idea! Instead of becoming depressed that I’m not snorkeling in Hawaii, I’m going to rejoice and give thanks to God, for He blesses me so much more than I could ever realize!
In His love,
Director, Answers2Prayer Ministries