Another holiday cancelled. Thanks, Lockdown.

I am the kind of guy who loves holidays and plans them a year in advance. So when yet another holiday had to be canceled, there was a lot of disappointment and despair.

Normally my gut reaction to whatever hardship (small or big) comes along is just to see it as a part of life: “Well, that’s life, what are you going to do about it.” Or to start the comparison game to conjure up some sort of thankfulness “Well it could be worse at least you have …”

This time, the disappointment exposed something within me, deep within.

But this time, the disappointment exposed something within me, deep within. I seemed to be more devastated than normal. So I had a choice. Do I downplay my disappointment, squash or get over it? Or do I do what Hebrews 12:7 says “Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children.”

Consciously choosing to see hardship (small though it was) through this lens began to change a cancelled holiday into a spiritual experience. It became a reminder that God is my Dad and that he wants me to grow up more and more in my trust of him.

Though I don’t like to admit it, I think another cancelled holiday was actually healthy for me. It was as if God was disciplining to show me how I had turned a good thing into a god thing—something I was using to satisfy my ultimate satisfaction and longing. As I called the hotel to cancel the booking, it felt like the question God was asking me was “Can you find your rest in Christ, even when the holidays are not there?”

Now don’t get me wrong, I know I do need a holiday in the future. But what I love about God is that he knows what I truly need and the areas in which I still need training. As the writer of Hebrews puts it:

No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
(Hebrews 12:11)

Now my temptation is to start planning the next holiday to fill that void. But I want to dream bigger. So I have started to plan for heaven. That’s what I want to dream about.

So here is what I am looking forward to for my eternal holiday:

  1. No more lockdowns. No vaccines needed. No masks. Perfect freedom. Woohoo!
  2. Gathering in large crowds with the likes of Martin Luther, Mary, King David, Ruth, Tim Keller singing loud praises to God.
  3. Travelling the wide new world that God has made without travel insurance, language barriers or running out of money.
  4. Birdwatching the thousands of birds God had created with my Grandad who is with the Lord now.
  5. Swimming in crystal blue water with no need for sunscreen, and my fear of sharks gone.
  6. Receiving a call from a brother or sister in Christ, and them sharing only good news.
  7. Experiencing day after day where everything goes right. Nothing is canceled, no one gets sick, no one is rude.
  8. Meeting Jesus face to face. I cannot even fully grasp this. Its like meeting a celebrity who is also my best friend, who knows me so well and yet I don’t know his face. I can’t wait.

I loved writing this list. Can I encourage you to write your own?

Gee, I loved writing this list. Can I encourage you to write your own?

As holidays are cancelled yet again, let’s long for the eternal rest which is guaranteed, and will never disappoint.

In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?
(John 14:2)