Annie was just a year and a half old when we took her to Disney World. She was quite overwhelmed by all of the sights and sounds, so we let her carry around her little security blanket. When she was tired or upset she would put it in her mouth, along with her two middle fingers, and suck on both the blanket and her fingers. Somehow this was soothing to her. (What soothes me are three warm gluten free chocolate chip cookies and a cold glass of milk, but I digress).
This picture was taken when we were standing in line for a ride. I had grabbed the other end of the blanket and put it in my mouth. I remember Annie smiling, then grabbing the blanket from my mouth and then handing it back to me. This went on back and forth for several minutes. I couldn’t tell you what ride we went on or whether or not I liked it, but I will always remember playing with my daughter and her blanket at Disney. It was a tender and memorable moment between father and daughter.
So what? Why am I telling you this?
The world is ugly, mean, corrupted, and fallen. People are killing each other in Baltimore and Chicago. Terrorists are murdering people in the Middle East. The government is largely corrupt and useless, (both parties included). There is sickness, poverty, and injustice all over the world, evidencing the fallen nature of man and his need for God. (Welcome to sowhatramblings.com, where encouraging thoughts are posted daily!)
The fact is life is not always good. Sometimes it’s downright bad. This summer take time to savor the blessings of God in a fallen world. Enjoy a tasty barbecue with friends. Go to the pool with your kids and be thankful for a time of play. Hang out with your friend/spouse/dog, (whatever). Listen to good music. Enjoy your vacation. Soak up good memories like a sponge.
Am I advocating we ignore the evils of our world? Should we just “eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we die”? Is this stick your head in the sand thinking? No. By all means be salt and light to a dark and tasteless world. Give your time and energy to spread the gospel and help others in need. Bring Christ into the world however you can and wherever you are. But also take time to enjoy the blessings God.
Solomon wrote the book of Ecclesiastes, documenting his efforts to find meaning in life. How does man find meaning amid evil, toil, death, and injustice? “There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God, for apart from him who can eat or who can have enjoyment?” (Eccl. 2:24-25, see also 3:12-13).
Solomon saw the meaninglessness of “eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die.” He saw firsthand how sex, money, philosophy, and possessions couldn’t fill an empty soul. Meaning isn’t found in the world. Meaning is found in its Creator, God, and in his son, Jesus Christ.
Meanwhile we still live in a world which is broken and empty but we can eat and drink and find enjoyment in the things God has given us. There is cold ice cream on hot summer days, hugs and kisses from our children, and loaded mashed potatoes, the greatest side dish of all time. All of these are tender blessings from God, who has given us these delights to enjoy in a sinful world. There is nothing wrong with enjoying the blessings of God if we realize that all good things are a gift from his hand. So yes, serve your communities. Love your neighbors. Go and tell people about Jesus in word and deed.
But also worship God for the good he has given amid a dying world. This summer enjoy and thank God for orange sherbet. Thank him for time to watch a good movie with your wife on a comfy couch. Read a book and delight in God’s blessing of a few moments of peace and quiet.
Capture your summer memories in photos so no matter what happens you can look up and remember how your little girl with a pink blanket once made your day. Then thank God for his kindness and grace in the midst of a messed up world.