Vacation is great. I can get in a car and drive away from many of the responsibilities of everyday life. I can clean my house and not clean it again for two whole weeks. I can leave behind the errands and the meetings and the emails. But as much as vacation is an “escape,” there is one thing I can’t get away from: sin.
As my dad is in the habit of reminding people: indwelling sin doesn’t take a vacation. As long as we’re in this world, we can’t escape it. We can’t get in the car and leave it behind. We take it with us. Everywhere.
In fact, it seems to me as if new sins sneak into my luggage. Serving others sometimes seems like more of a sacrifice on vacation. I’m often more tempted to be impatient and self-centered. Worst of all, is the temptation to spiritual lethargy; the lure of pleasure and ease that seeks to pull my soul away from communion with God.
Because sin doesn’t take a vacation, I cannot—I must not—take a vacation from dependence upon God. I desperately need His help to fight the sins that surface on vacation. But, sadly, I must confess that all too often I have neglected the spiritual disciplines. I start off with good intentions, but by the end of vacation my soul is cold and lacks passion for God.
That’s why I need others on vacation. My husband challenges me and encourages me in my walk with God. My mom and sisters and I trade off watching the kids so each of us gets time with the Lord. They all provide an example that inspires me.
But even though sin travels with me, the good news is that I cannot escape the grace of God! And I don’t want to! The gospel tells me that God sent His Son to redeem vacationing sinners like me. And even better—one day I will truly escape from sin, and spend eternity worshipping Him!
In light of my temptation to neglect the spiritual disciplines on vacation, this prayer, entitled “Backsliding” encouraged me this morning:
“I bless thee that those who turn aside may return to thee immediately, and be welcomed without anything to commend them, notwithstanding all their former backslidings. I confess that this is suited to my case, for of late I have found great want, and lack of apprehension of divine grace; I have been greatly distressed of soul because I did not suitably come to the fountain that purges away all sin….Give me to believe that thou canst do for me more than I ask or think, and that, though I backslide, thy love will never let me go, but will draw me back to thee with everlasting cords….Keep me solemn, devout, faithful, resting on free grace for assistance, acceptance, and peace of conscience.”
(Arthur Bennett, ed., Valley of Vision (Carslile, PA: The Banner of Truth Trust, 2002) p. 156-157.