Leaving the Lanai

On our last morning in Hawaii, I couldn’t wait to grab my cup of coffee and sit on the lanai. There is something profoundly beautiful about watching waves during high tide, seeing the colors of the sunrise reflected on the clouds, and hearing the tropical birds call out to each other. Then, out of nowhere, a drone went buzzing by. So much for the deeper thoughts.

The young man sat next to a girl I hope was his wife. Like me, she was enjoying the beauty of the morning with a cup of coffee. Meanwhile, her guy was hunched over a little box trying to direct his drone where he wanted it to go. His frustration was evident as he continually lost sight of his buzzing distraction. He apparently lost track of it when it went over the water or the roof of the condo. The girl finished her coffee and eventually deserted him to go inside. The gardener finally chased off the guy with his bug sprayer, needing to spray the hedges. I hope tomorrow the young man chooses to sit on the bench and enjoy the sunrise—minus the drone.

The scene made me think about returning home to a busy work schedule, lots of laundry, and an empty fridge. I think I will miss having my morning coffee with the view from the lanai. It was a special place to view the powerful ocean and ponder the deeper thoughts about God. His creation is the only proof I need that God is an intelligence and power much greater than any man’s. I think that is what caused me to be sad for the young man. He was far more fascinated by his man-made drone than he was by God’s amazing creation displayed all around him.

I love that we have had the chance to get away and enjoy such a unique and different spot on this planet. It has been good to rest, but it will be good to get home too. I just don’t want to lose the deeper thoughts when I return to the regular moments of my daily schedule. It’s the old problem of leaving the mountaintop for the routine. But God didn’t call me to live on the mountaintop. I’m blessed to have been able to retreat there with him for a while.

Oswald Chambers said in My Utmost for His Highest, “We have all experienced times of exaltation on the mountain, when we have seen things from God’s perspective and have wanted to stay there. But God will never allow us to stay there. The true test of our spiritual life is in exhibiting the power to descend from the mountain.”

God wants us to spend unique moments with him during this lifetime. Those moments are a taste of what eternity will be like. But, God brings us to those times to be filled with the strength and character we need for our lives and ministries. The real takeaways from the mountaintop experiences are the truth and guidance God reveals while we were there. The mountaintop moments should change who we are, not just what we know.

I thought about God as I watched the young man and his drone. It will be a temptation when I return home to become so consumed with the details of daily life that I lose focus on the God who is life. The view from my den doesn’t compare with the view I have had on the lanai. On the other hand, the lanai never felt like home. It was always a place to visit and never a place to live. I’m glad for the mountaintop moments but happy God has called me to live and serve at home.

Oswald Chambers ends his devotion saying, “The mountaintop is not meant to teach us anything, it is meant to make us something. The moments on the mountaintop are rare moments, and they are meant for something in God’s purpose.” I imagine I will come to understand his purpose as the weeks and months ahead unfold.

I have a new image that will greet me each morning when I open my laptop. It will remind me of those wonderful moments on the lanai. I’ll enjoy the good memories, and then I will close my computer and go about the day. We serve an amazing God, and his creation is just a glimpse of his immeasurable intelligence and power. One day we will meet our Creator, and eternal life will be lived forever on his mountaintop. Until then, home is a house in Dallas, and I am happy to be there. But I can’t help but wonder how good the view and the coffee will be from the lanai on my eternal mansion. (In case God takes hints from a blogger . . .)

Let’s take a few moments today to consider the majesty in God’s creation around you. It may not be a spectacular ocean view, but God’s existence is seen throughout the world. Then let’s remember, what you can see on earth, or even be awed with on earth, is only a small glimpse of his greatness. All of us who are Christians have a LOT to look forward to!