For the last five years our holidays have been limited to visiting family, and attending Spring Harvest in Skegness. This year we found there was one week where we could fit in a short break with our teenagers, before Beth leaves for her gap year. Given the large number of frequent flyer miles I have accumulated we envisaged that it would simple to find a destination and book flights. It wasn’t. Eventually we discovered we could get flights to Gothenburg in Sweden, and set about the task of finding somewhere to stay. We thought that a self-catering chalet on a holiday site would fit the bill, and that is where we are now.
After an excellent summer, the weather in Sweden turned nasty a couple of weeks ago, and is still misbehaving. Soon after we arrived there were several torrential downpours. The weather, and the fact that the chalet is somewhat compact, produced an initial despondency! But as time progressed we began to notice the absence of noise. A walk around the site and toes dipped in the sea soon lifted our spirits. As the rain stopped and the sun came out we found ourselves blessed by the peace and beauty of our location. Before the sun went down we played games outside on the verandah, and were again astonished by the silence.
Sometimes life is like our arrival in Sweden, when expectation appears to have been dashed by disappointment. Disappointment can consume us when things don’t go according to our expectations. But disappointment can liberate us if we seek out the positive from each situation, instead of wallowing in the negative like pigs in their swill.
Jesus told a parable about a prodigal son who knew about pigs and swill. Having blown his inheritance his ‘friends’ were suddenly nowhere to be found, and he ended up slopping out pigs for a living. Realising that the servants at home had a better life than He did, the prodigal headed back to his dad, ready to eat humble pie. Even without a changed attitude the prodigal would have been welcomed home. It seems crazy to think that a son and heir would have been willing to live as a servant. Yet that is exactly what Jesus did, the main difference being that he didn’t abandon the family estate with his share of the inheritance.
While God has never had cause to be disappointed with Jesus, many of us live under a cloud of believing that we are a massive disappointment to God. But if that were the case would Jesus have ever bothered spending so much time with the bunch of misfits who became apostles? Just as Jesus invested time in the disciples and gained pleasure from watching them grow, so I believe it is with God and us. Love means overturning disappointment and seeking out the positive. The fact God loves me enough to do that is the most significant positive I know. And I am blessed by the peace that that knowledge brings.