Deb and I had a nice get away in the northwest corner of lower Michigan, an area that has a beauty all its own, perhaps most notable there: the Sleeping Bear Dunes. Amazingly high sand dunes, and numerous trails; we were there just long enough to catch a good glimpse of the beauty and wonder, and do a little climbing of our own! The rest of our time was good as well, but with plenty of unexpected twists and turns. It was not the getaway I had envisioned and hoped for in some ways.

Challenges came our way, not big ones, but a multitude of little ones. Except for being together, not much else was falling out according to plan.

But I began to realize that in that, God was at work. That this was an experience which in some way beyond me, was good. Deb and I were going through this together with our God. And maybe, just maybe, God is trying to tell us something through it. Perhaps even about the rest of our lives.

Yes, we want to follow Jesus. But too often we want to do so on our terms, not his. I wonder how often Jesus’ disciples elbowed each other and rolled their eyes. Or at least grumbled to themselves, with a bit leaking out. Especially early on, in their following of Jesus. Jesus would not let up in moving about in expression of the Jesus Creed of loving God with one’s entire being and doing, and loving one’s neighbor as one’s self.

What do we do when challenges come our way? Especially when we want to take a break from normal life, and just rest, doing little or nothing. We need times like that, by the way. We can either grumble out loud or under our breath. Or just thank God for them, knowing he is at work in everything.

At any rate I strangely came away from our getaway, feeling refreshed and renewed. Ready to take on real life again. We need to remember that God works in different ways. As soon as we think we know how God will work, due to a past experience we’ve had, we’ll end up surprised. Challenges come our way to strengthen us in our faith, and walk in Jesus together in and for this world.