The heavens declare the glory of God. The expanse shows his handiwork. (Psalms 19:1 WEB)
At the end of our first furlough we were tired and ready to return to the mission field for some needed rest. All the travel, the speaking engagements, the birth of our son James, and the pressures of raising support took their toll. Whatever pressure there was on the mission field it was nothing compared to the pressure of furlough and being constantly on display from house to house and church to church.
As we prepared our bags, shipped our container, closed our US affairs, we looked forward to heading back to our home on Guam. In the midst of preparation we received a note, from the home office. We had received a gift. Someone, who we were never able to identify, provided funds for us to spend two days in Hawaii on our way back to Guam so we could rest and relax.
We were amazed! This was an unexpected joy. We completed our packing, spent a week visiting my parents and headed west to the romantic island. Unfortunately, I opened a hot radiator and received first degree burns to my arm three days before our flight. Ellice, while playing in the park, fell from a jungle gym, broke her arm and sported a nice white cast two days before our flight.
Bandaged, wearing a cast and seeking safety we sat back on the plane and looked forward to seeing a bit of Oahu Island. The flight was uneventful. We arrived, checked our extra bags into a storage facility at the airport and rented a car for two days of exploration.
Most people when they visit Hawaii spend a lot of time at the beach. With a six-month old baby, Daddy in bandages, and a daughter in a cast, this was not one of our options. We could see the beach beckoning from our hotel room. A walk along the beach was as close as we would come during this visit.
So, in the interests of having fun we started a search. The television program, Magnum P.I., was popular at the time so we decided to tour the island and look for the mansion used in filming the show. We’ve spend a lot of time on holidays looking for bits and pieces of shows or movies we watched.
In the morning we piled into the car, squeezed our bags in the trunk and headed around the island. Literally, we drove around the shore road of the island. Each little neighborhood was the chance to diverge from the beaten path in search for the ever elusive Magnum Mansion.
We stopped by Diamond Head and went inside the dormant volcanic funnel. We watched paragliders gracefully sail from the cliffs on the eastern shore. Pineapple fields we an interesting and new sight. Toward the center of the island we were fascinated with the rugged mountains, lush vegetation, and beautiful waterfalls. There were surfers anywhere a wave was present. The island was teaming with life and vacationers.
In all our driving we eventually forgot our quest and never found the television mansion. On the contrary we discovered some of the wonders of God’s magnificent creation on a small piece of rock in the middle of the ocean. From the pineapple filled plains to the tropical forest covered mountains God’s attention to details was evident.
Even though man created beautiful and ugly buildings and cities in the midst of the beauty; the beauty stood out none the less. We were searching for the imaginary in the midst of reality. It wasn’t the glamour of a world famous vacation spot, the marvel of surfer dudes riding the curl, or the finding of a television set that caught our attention that day.
That day on a small island we were impressed once more at God’s creation. God’s glory was declared by the beauty of this small bump in the midst of the mighty ocean. I’m amazed. Some folks can look at the world around, see the minute details of creation, the beauty of carefully sculptured mountains or the fine weaving of a leaf and not see God at work.
Sometimes, I get so caught up trying to find something man created that I miss the bigger picture. At those times I’m likely to miss the obvious things around me. Burned arms and broken wings forced us to slow down, use our eyes to see, enjoy, and be impressed by God’s work.
By awesome deeds of righteousness, you answer us, God of our salvation. You who are the hope of all the ends of the earth, Of those who are far away on the sea; Who by his power forms the mountains, Having armed yourself with strength; Who stills the roaring of the seas, The roaring of their waves, And the turmoil of the nations. They also who dwell in far away places are afraid at your wonders. You call the morning’s dawn and the evening with songs of joy. You visit the earth, and water it. You greatly enrich it. The river of God is full of water. You provide them grain, for so you have ordained it. You drench its furrows. You level its ridges. You soften it with showers. You bless it with a crop. You crown the year with your bounty. Your carts overflow with abundance. The wilderness grasslands overflow. The hills are clothed with gladness. The pastures are covered with flocks. The valleys also are clothed with grain. They shout for joy! They also sing. (Psalms 65:5 13 WEB)