I am sitting at a desk in a hotel room in Philadelphia.
Jake and I are mid-trip, heading home after a wonderful, never-a-dull-moment-visit with our daughter’s young family in Spain.
The 9-hour flight from Madrid yesterday was one of the hardest ones I’ve had to endure. I won’t bore you with my complaints but one good thing happened: We departed late, so we missed our connecting flight and had to stay the night in this little hotel.
I am relishing these dull moments.
Out my window I see a sign that says Aloft: live life aloft.
An odd name for a hotel: Aloft.
Up. Above. Elevated.
And what do they mean, live life aloft? To live free? Buoyant? Above hard circumstances?
How do people do that without looking up to God?
Me, I need God.
Last Saturday in Spain, I took a long walk. The city of Granada butts up to rugged snow-covered mountains. I headed upwards to a forested slope, where I have been many times before.
One particular time, eight years ago, I was there weeping about the impending goodbye to my daughter and her then-firstborn baby. I hated that we lived so far apart.
In my Bible reading that day (2 Chronicles 35), God had a word for me. It was loud and clear: “Cease opposing God.”
I was railing against His will for our family, upset that we lived in four different countries, and, along with my anger, I justified my grief and self-pity.
But God called it all ‘rebellion,’ and gave me the chance to repent – which I grabbed – and He forgave me.
I’d gone up the mountain, spirit-heavy.
And I came down, spirit-aloft.
That buoyancy, accepting God’s will for our family, has lasted a long time.
But I do have my moments.
During our long wait at the Madrid airport, I received a ‘whatsapp’ photo of our granddaughters with the Valentine’s gifts I’d left for them to find.
I was happy to see their smiling faces, but when I saw they were at the house of our son-in-law’s parents, their other gramma who lives close by, I fell slam-dunk into a pit.
Grrrr. I’m not even gone a few hours and they are with her! It is so not fair. And I have to suffer the sad goodbyes and these long plane trips. Oh, Lord, why can’t I live down the road from them?
(More later. Gotta go to the airport.)
It is so good to be home.
This morning I read Psalm 106, the recounting of how God saved the Israelites over and over, did miracles for them, and guided them faithfully, but they consistently forgot and repeatedly disobeyed God, arousing His wrath.
Once Moses “stood in the breach” to save them from God’s just punishment.
Another time it was Phinehas who “stood up and intervened” for them.
Still their rebelling went on and on.
And likewise, God’s mercy went on and on.
I can see myself as an Israelite.
Life is hard. I don’t like parts of it. I tend to focus on the negative and forget God’s miracles and benefits and I oppose His will.
I deserve His disgust. His wrath.
Jesus is better than Moses and Phinehas. He stands in the breach. He always intervenes. He took God’s wrath on the cross and I am forever forgiven.
And therefore—this makes me so grateful—in spite of my circumstances, I can live free, buoyant, aloft.
You might remember (no, you probably don’t) that last year on Valentine’s Day, I was traveling home from Spain, super-weary, and the same thing happened: Delayed flight, hotel voucher, overnight respite in Philly.
Philadelphia is called the City of Love and God has shown me lots of love there!