“I am the Lord, and I do not change. That is why you descendants of Jacob are not already destroyed.”
–Malachi 3-6 (NLT)
As my mom and I stepped off the plane in Orlando, Florida, I had to keep telling myself I wasn’t dreaming. After months of planning, we were finally here, ready to enjoy a week-long vacation full of food, shopping, and tons of theme-park fun!
The fun began the next day in Epcot, at Walt Disney World Resort. On our first ride, we got to take off and fly above the entire planet Earth on Mission: Space. In the afternoon, we went flying above a German castle, an African jungle, the Taj Mahal and the Eiffel Tower on Soarin’ Around the World, a virtual hang-gliding adventure.
The late afternoon was devoted to walking around World Showcase, in which 11 pavilions placed around a lagoon pay tribute to 11 different countries. In the Paris pavilion, we climbed into little rat-shaped cars on a ride called Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure. Our little rats were Remy the rat chef’s guests in a French restaurant, but we needed to get through the restaurant to reach him. We had to dodge a flaming broiler, projectile vegetables and dishes, and panicked human waiters and customers who weren’t too keen on rodents coming to dinner. We couldn’t resist some French cuisine after that fun adventure, so we stopped in a patisserie and I got to try some thick, rich and wonderful chocolate mousse.
The next day, we toured Disney’s Hollywood Studios. We got to zoom down a 13-story drop–twice–at the spooky and very fun Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. Then we followed Disney’s two favorite mice in a fugitive train car on Mickey’s Runaway Railway. (At one point our train danced a graceful waltz and a bouncy conga in Daisy Duck’s dance studio–my favorite part of the ride!)
In the afternoon, we paid a visit to Galaxy’s Edge, an entire land devoted to Star Wars. I got to check out some stuffed creatures from around the galaxy in one of the shops.
I was also drafted to help drive Han Solo’s famous spaceship, the Millennium Falcon. (I crashed it into a First Order spaceship at one point, so now I can say I dammaged the fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy. What an honor!)
After spending a relaxing Saturday shopping at Disney Springs Marketplace–a Disney fan’s shopping paradise, for sure–we spent the next two days at Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. The rides here were quite a bit wilder than they were at Disney World. Our most intense roller-coaster adventure, in which we learned about some of the magical creatures that Harry Potter’s giant friend Hagrid cares for, proved to be a bit too turbulent for us.
However, we enjoyed visiting islands themed to Marvel Comics, Dr. Seuss, and King Kong. We enjoyed following Spider-Man in a news van while Dr. Octopus and five other comic villains tried to kill us with pumpkin bombs and an anti-gravity gun. We raced around Springfield with the Simpsons, and took a whirlwind tour of New York with Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon.
And during that stage of the trip, we ate in two large and open restaurants that featured large waterfalls. One of them even played recordings of Kenny G’s music during the whole meal. Those restaurants were so relaxing that it was easy to forget we were in a theme park.
In short, our week was full of thrills, souvenirs, and lots of mother-daughter bonding. But as fun as our vacation was, I was really glad to come home again.
Two things stood out to me by the time our trip ended. First, all the fun was temporary. Most of the rides only lasted 3 or 4 minutes, and we eventually had to climb out of our seats and back into reality.
Secondly, as anyone who loves vacations knows, all the rides and shopping trips eventually took a toll on us. By the time we boarded our flight home, we’d had our fill of touring crowded theme parks, and we were ready to return to our loving husbands at home.
Our lives may be short and our adventures may be fleeting, but God is the same yesterday, today and forever. When times get tough and life starts throwing too much at me, I pray and talk to God for a while, and He never fails to fill my heart with peace that passes all understanding. Of course, I thank God all the time for the joyful seasons of life–including that fantastic vacation with Mom.
You and I only have a small number of days to live, so if you want to enter into an eternal relationship with someone who’ll always be there for you, I encourage you to study God’s Word, turn away from your sins, and prayerfully ask Him to enter your heart. And if you’re already a Christian, re-visit the Bible and re-dedicate yourself to Him.
In any case, I hope you’ll draw closer to our heavenly Father. Then, whether life is scary or relaxing, you’ll always be able to turn to Jesus Christ.
Now it’s my turn, but next to what my wife just said, you’ll probably find my thoughts a bit boring. You see, I’m really not into Disney World, which I mainly equate with spending money and standing in line. Don’t get me wrong–there are two things I like about it: roller coasters and going home.
But even though Disney isn’t my passion, I find that things like that (and even shopping, if you can believe it) take on new meaning.
Except for getting together with a few friends, my wifeless week was somewhat quiet. Because of this, I had time to sit down and think while Stephanie was gone. I bet you didn’t know I could do that, but these things stood out to me.
Since I was batching it, I saved some money, figuring that somebody had to do that instead of spending. But truthfully, here’s one way that I wouldn’t recommend. While I was able to visit with a couple of friends, my eating habbits mostly went down the tubes. You know the feeling when you sit down at an empty table, so there’s no need to go there.
But on the other hand, my week of solitude did have its perks. You wouldn’t believe the calories I saved, and in another way, I found the down-time both refreshing and thought-provoking. So looking back, I would like to tell you one of the main things I rediscovered.
I guess we’re all guilty of loving someone, and taking them for granted at the same time. We don’t think about all the little things they do in a deep way, until they’ve gone away. However, in the quiet hours which I spoke about, we tend to do some soul searching, and this is where I found myself.
As Stephanie said so eloquently, God is always available and will never leave us alone. Scripture also says that before we call, He has already answered.
But the fact that He blesses all of us abundantly caused me to ask myself some questions while writing this. Do I see what I consider to be little acts of God as His blessings, or do I simply take them for granted? What about the food in our pantry, or the air that keeps me alive?
You can make your own list, but the point is that you and I are in the same boat. We call out to God only in times of need or want, and while we certainly should do this, we forget to thank and praise Him for all that He gives us every day.
Perhaps one reason is because our view of God is so limited. I’m afraid that most of the time, we look at Him only as a divine Santa Claus figure, who occasionally comes down the chimneys of our lives.
But God wants to be so much more to you, and that is what He has shown me as well. He wants to be a real friend to you, and walk with you all the time.
So whether you go to Disney World or suffer disappointment, you can know that He is always there–the compass guiding you to the shores of peace and safety.
Thank you for reading this, and may the Lord give you a wonderful week! We are trying to reach people who are hurting, so if God lays it on your heart, please consider becoming a partner with us. If you would like to make a donation, please visit www.hcmachaplains.org and click on the Donate Now link. You can also send donations by mail to HCMA (Healthcare Chaplains Ministry Association). Our ID number is 560. The address is 101 S Kraemer BLVD, Suite 123A, Placentia, CA 92870.
Finally, you’re always welcome to join our Tuesday night Bible study. These studies are conducted by conference call, and they take place at 6:30 PM Arizona time. Our conference number is 313-209-8800. Our PIN is 8699032. We hope to talk with you soon!
If you have questions, comments or prayer requests for Timothy or Stephanie Burdick, please call 507-369-6861.