Do you have a special place you like to go to study and/or talk to God? My usual praying place is my shower, because, let’s face it, as a working mom or 4, that’s pretty much the only time I’m alone. And sometimes even then there’s that knock on the door that signals a child has something they don’t think can wait until I get out. But when I read or write, I like to be in my rocker at the barn, sitting by the creek, or in my basement office. They are places I feel comfortable and at peace, even when I’m having the inevitable interruptions. They are familiar places, places I have felt God before and know He’s there.
But He’s also in my car when I’m on the way to our Arab office. Or sitting in my kids’ floor with them. Or in a hotel in Huntsville where Jeremy and I like to have a mini-getaway, sometimes alone and sometimes with friends. He’s at a campground in the Smokey Mountains where we’ve sat and worshipped with friends. He’s at the beach in Tybee Island, where we sat up talking into the night with friends about Him and what He wants from us. He’s in California, where I stuck my feet in the cold Pacific Ocean for the first time, and marveled at the beauty of the sunset He gave us.
We have come accustomed to living busy, structured lives. To slowing down and making time for God when we “have to” on Sunday mornings, and maybe long enough to read a daily devotional and say a rote prayer. It’s our routine. It’s easy to rely on those routines to keep us focused and going in the right direction.
But what happens when we get out of our routines?
It’s the time of year when we are all thinking about vacation. Planning those trips for a little R&R. We like to just chill on vacation and do as little as possible, but I know a lot of people like to pack their trips full of sight-seeing and activity. No matter which way you prefer to spend your time off, remember one thing.
God is everywhere.
You didn’t leave Him behind in your church building or your special prayer place. He is still with you. And He still wants us to spend time with Him.
It’s easy when we get out of our familiar places and out of our routines to forget that He went on vacation with us. (Although I’m sure some people wished He wasn’t there to see what “happened in Vegas” that they want to “stay in Vegas” 😳) But He is there, and patiently waiting on us to remember and spend time with Him. He does want us to relax and have fun and do all the fun vacation things. But not at the expense of neglecting our special time with Him.
So remember when you are watching that sunset at the beach, or sticking your feet in the cool mountain creek, or passing all of those faces made in His image on that busy city sidewalk, or marveling at some new wonder in a new place, that He is with you. Get up a little earlier to watch the sunrise with Him. Or sit on a park bench and appreciate the diversity of people He has created. Look at nature and thank Him for the blessings He has provided for us. Sit up late with your friends or family (you know you will anyway) and praise Him and speak of Him to one another.
Don’t forget to pack God’s bags, too, when you’re making vaca prep. Don’t ignore Him while you’re there. He wants to share every aspect, every moment of our lives with us. He’s gonna hitch a ride with you, even if you forgot His official invitation. Remember He’s there, and still wants you to spend time with Him. It may not look exactly like it does when we spend time with Him during our regular routines days, but don’t leave it completely off of your vacation schedule.
Whether you’re alone or with friends or with strangers, God is there. Whether it’s early morning, middle of the day, or middle of the night, God is there. Whether you’re at home or half way around the world, God is there. Always. Everywhere.