My people will live in peaceful dwelling places, in secure homes, in undisturbed places of rest. ~ Isaiah 32:18
I’m dreaming of a beach vacation….
I don’t know about you, but this cold weather is starting to get to me. I’m ready for flip-flops, shorts and walking out the door without having to find a coat to match the temperature and outfit of the day.
So I’ve started looking at beach houses, trying to find one that fits everyone’s schedules, beach preference, bedrooms and budgets that doesn’t look like something decorated in the disco era. I feel like I’m looking for the proverbial needle in the haystack. I can’t believe how many beach houses are booked all summer already and it’s only the beginning of March!
But, unfortunately, there’s one particular house that isn’t available this year. One that is loved dearly by our family for the special memories acquired there. A wonderful house we’ve managed to stay most summers for the last 15 years. It suits our families perfectly. This home has a beautiful spirit about it that keeps drawing us back each year.
A doctor and his wife, who’ve traveled extensively on medical mission trips, were the dear owners of this multi-dimensional house. I’ve never met them, but their fingerprints, photos and souvenirs from exotic travels are scattered all over. Every bedroom is themed after a particular country; England, Africa, India. The den has a large beautiful hatch from a ship engraved with a Bible verse hanging over the fireplace. There’s a long picnic table outside the kitchen on the screen porch where we’ve had many good meals and sweet fellowship. There are also hammocks swinging on either side of the porch, usually occupied by a body exhausted, but happy, after a day in the sun.
It’s not a fancy house. You can tell it has been lived in and loved well. But there is such a peace there. Life’s worries just fall away and you only consider the nature and loved ones around you. It’s almost magical in some respects. But the atmosphere isn’t achieved through magic. I believe this house has been prayed over and made as welcoming as possible by the owners. There are subtle signs of their Christian faith everywhere, from the books that line their shelves to the framed photos the good doctor himself took of God’s beauty observed all around him. I believe the Holy Spirit is the secret ingredient to the wonder of this place of solace.
You may think I’m exaggerating, but if you’ve stayed there, I know you’d agree with me.
On our last visit, we discovered the doctor had recently passed away and the house had been sold. We found a newly published book authored by him containing many of his beautiful photographs. The last page, however, contained a letter from his sweet wife explaining the book was published after his death. It’s a shame he didn’t live to see it, but what a special gift he left behind for others to enjoy.
I believe this couple endeavored to show God’s hospitality in their vacation home. I pray others will feel the same spirit of hospitality as they enter my home, whether through words, actions or items sprinkled about. I would cringe at the thought of anyone giving my house the white glove treatment, but hopefully I’ll always open the door to share God’s love, food and fellowship. How wonderful it is to be blessed with homes we can invite others to enjoy. And who knows? We may even have the privilege of entertaining angels.
As we were deciding our vacation plans for this summer, my daughter immediately piped up saying she wants to go back to the beach house. She explained to her boyfriend the significance of this special place. “Many of my best childhood memories were made there,” she said, with dancing eyes.
Looking back, I agree. We have experienced so many wonderful times in that summer oasis. I hope God will allow us many more in the future, whether it be there, or some other special place with Christian hospitality.
But as for right now, I’ve got to get back to searching for that illusive beach house …
Is there a special place in your life that brings you peace and rest? I would love to hear about it.