Monday, April 1, 2013

If You Teach it, You Will be Tested

With anticipation oozing from every inch of me, we packed our suitcases and headed south for Spring Break to the Sunshine State-Florida!

Our family had never taken a "beach" vacation.  Normally we head straight to Mickeyville and dose ourselves with 7 days of Disney Magic.  However, this time we purchased a marketing package that included 3 nights in a "two bedroom condo on the beach" and 4 nights in Orlando. 

It was a great deal and it was in writing that we would be in a "condo on the beach". 

The Sunshine State was not so sunny when we arrived--apparently an omen of what was coming.  We arrived at the resort bouncing with excitement.  The skies were clearing now and we were eager to check in, get swimsuits on and head down to the beach!

We went to the check-in counter.  The lady behind the counter asked for our name.  A frown developed on her face as she informed us that the resort was full and they did not have a room for us.  They had overbooked it.

Immediately, I knew what was going on.  This was a test.  

(Before proceeding, I feel compelled to affirm that I know there are struggles in life much more disappointing than not getting to stay at the beach.  You may be going through a very difficult situation today. I understand other trials tower in comparison.  Please know, my hope and prayer is for you to find application to your own struggles through this trivial example of a trial.)

God, what are you up to? Oh Lord, help me pass this.  You know how much I LOVE the beach. 

We were disappointed, but tried to maintain a positive mindset.  After all, mistakes happen, right? The lady behind the counter told us she contacted her manager and he had arranged two adjoining hotel rooms at the Sleep Inn for us down the road by the interstate (our family doesn't fit into one hotel room).

In case you don't know, I am a self-confessed hotel snob.  Yes, sadly it is true.  I like to stay at nice places. Don't misuderstand, Sleep Inn is a fine hotel, it just isn't where I would normally choose to stay.  Also, I am of the opinion that when going to the beach, it is best to stay on the beach. 

Does anything compare to the waking up to the sound of waves crashing against the shore and the sea gulls calling in the morning air?  Or opening up the glass sliding picturesque doors and walking into a masterpiece of God's creation while feeling a soft ocean breeze?

This was suppose to be our view.  Awww...breathtaking!

Instead, this was our view...

On the bright side, the cars zooming past on the interstate nearly simulated the sound of ocean waves and we did have a pool view with palm trees.  That is at least something.  The Sleep Inn also does have a lovely continental breakfast in the morning complete with a waffle maker (that sometimes works). 

Back to our test....

At first I did fairly well with the trial. I maintained a positive attitude while focusing on the lovely free continental breakfast.  I looked for what we could be thankful for in this situation.  We had enjoyed a wonderful day at the beach.  The weather, which had looked ominous at one point, cleared up.  God blessed us with warm sunshine to enjoy the waves and sandy beaches. 
That night, after tucking in our tuckered out kiddos, I headed down to the treadmill at the Sleep Inn.  As I went down steps, the smoky aroma of the hallway reminded me of my whereabouts and my heart began to sink.  Again, I began to ask, "Why God?  Why is this happening?  We were suppose to be at a beautiful resort on the beach?" 

As my feet pounded the treadmill, frustration mounted and disappointment escalated.  I cried out to God. "Why are we here? This isn't right.  How could this happen? We haven't been to the beach as a family in five years and we haven't ever had a beach vacation. What is going on here?"  

His response made me laugh out loud.  He responded, 

"Contentment is not a destination, it is a decision." 

This was a lesson I had taught in a previous post entitled "I Have Learned..."  You can click on it to read it.  Basically, I taught that through some life trials, I had learned that contentment is not a destination, it is a decision based on Philippians 4:11-13

"I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.  I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.  I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  I can do everything through Him who gives me strength." 

I laughed because I knew He was right.  Was I only going to be content if I was at my desired destination-- the resort on the beach?  Or was I going to be content at the Sleep Inn by the interstate?  It was my decision.  I repented and decided "Yes, I will be content at the Sleep Inn."

It turned out after some further investigation that the people we were dealing with at the resort and the marketing package lied to us.  So, here is another test.  How are we going to react to this mistreatment?  God did not cause the bad people to lie to us, but He did divinely intervene to use this as a trial to see how we would respond.  He knew this would happen.  It did not surprise Him.  Nothing surprises Him. 

"My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.  But let patience have her perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing."  James 1:2-4

Are we really suppose to count it all JOY when we fall into various trials?  It isn't that we are to be glad about the trials, but rather rejoice about the development of our character that will come as a result of the trial.  Without trials, there is no growth. 

As hard as it was for me to swallow, it was more important for God to continue to develop me and mold me so that I may one day be complete and lacking nothing than for me to have a beach view.  
As far as the test goes, I am not 100 percent sure I passed. I was quite angry at the bad people who lied to us and let one of the salespersons know it.  I was firm, but I don't think I was disrespectful to her in any way.  Like I said, I am not sure. 

I do know this though.  This was a wonderful trip to the beach.  Our family thoroughly enjoyed our time together.  I felt the Lord's presence with us.  He knows we were wronged and I know He will repay.  We focused on the positives and the blessings we had.  It was one of the best vacations!!  Yes, even with the Sleep Inn by the interstate!  Our son, Joe, even said he preferred the Sleep Inn over the resort (I think it must have been the continental breakfasts). {smile}

1 comment:

  1. Isn't it funny (not) when we pray for God to teach us something, or we think we've learned something and we only did for a time, how God puts us in a place to learn (again) what it is He is trying to teach us. I'm not sure I would have handled your situation as well as you did, but can praise God with you that He loves you enough to persist with that lesson. I found you over at Melissa's OBS on Stressed-Less Living. Praying for you my sister.

    The Howell Blessings


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