Trust the LORD and live right!
The land will be yours, and you will be safe. (Psalms 37:3 CEV)
During our first furlough we lived in one home for many months. I traveled regularly to meet with churches and share the ministry. Once in a while the family came along for the weekend. Later furloughs were different. Our second furlough was more realistic and a hint of coming furloughs.
With one or two exceptions we spent our second furlough on the road. Most of our stops were for two or three days. A couple times it was four or five. After a few miles our four children, in one car, let us know that they were bored. They wanted to do something fun and exciting.
We desired to be good parents, relieve our children’s boredom, and maintain our own sanity, Beth and I decided it would be good to stop regularly and have some fun. Games such as license plate alphabet didn’t last long. The close quarters of the car called for more drastic measures.
I remember riding many miles with my parents. We usually had a destination in mind as well as planned stops along the way. I tried to do the same with our family. It seemed very efficient for an engineering mindset like mine as well as my father. However, I do recall as a young man seeing a sign for some special location and wanting to stop. But, since it wasn’t on the schedule and slowed us down we didn’t stop.
Now it was my children in the car. What would I do when they read the signs and wanted to stop? Beth and I discussed it briefly and decided we would beat them to the punch. When we saw a sign to some supposedly interesting place we would investigate. Even historical markers were on the list of possible reasons to stop for at least few minutes.
We visited Beth’s parents in Florida where the children learned about fishing. Grandpa prepared a fishing pole for each of the children and taught them how to catch, clean and eat the fish. They even learned to watch my hat float away when it was blown into the waterway.
Beth was reading the Laura Ingles Wilder series about the Little House on the Prairie. One of the churches we visited put us up in a log cabin beside a small lake just outside of town. The children thought we were living out part of the story.
Since there was only a small zoo on Guam, and I like zoos, we visited many zoos across the country. My favorite would be the Saint Louis Zoo. While visiting the San Antonio Zoo Beth discovered we had monitor lizards on the island of Guam. She didn’t believe me when she saw the sign although I told her we saw them on the island. After finding out they had lizards as big as herself, that ate small mammals, she wasn’t sure she wanted to return.
Not everything we experienced or every place we stayed was wonderful. There were some hard times with poor housing, illness, and car problems. But overall there was much more to be thankful for than to worry about.
God works in our lives to provide the rest and refreshment we need to serve Him fully. Sometimes we don’t see the benefits, sometimes we sail by the historical markers, sometimes we miss the joys along the way because we’re too busy trying to get to that next place of service.
God has taught me to slow down on furlough and look around. He created a marvelous world full of faithful servants for which we are eternally thankful.