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It’s good to be back! Vacations are wonderful, aren’t they? During our two weeks, we were in Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and up in God’s Country. In the second week, we went camping and had a good time well, sort of. Megan, our one-year-old, was not a “Happy Camper.”
When it was time to go to bed, Beth, Becky, Megan and I grabbed our sleeping bags and headed into a tent. Megan was pretty wiped out so she went to sleep OK but the problems came when it started lightning. Beth picked her up and put Megan in her sleeping bag at 1:00 a.m. Later, I looked at my Timex Indiglo watch when Megan woke up again and saw that it was only 4:30 in the morning. I quickly jumped up and in the darkness made my way over to her.
Megan was wigging out it may have been how my face looked in the glow of the lightning or, how my face looks in natural light for that matter. I tried to comfort her to no avail. Beth handed Megan to me; I grabbed her diaper bag and headed for the car. I wanted to get her somewhere where her crying wouldn’t wake up the entire campsite. I put her in her car seat and just drove around the campground until she fell asleep. Unfortunately, she didn’t sleep long enough so I had to drive around in town until she took another little catnap.
When it was finally safe to come back without getting busted by Ranger Rick for disturbing the peace, I pulled in with our unhappy camper and had breakfast. Later that day, my mom and dad very graciously offered to put us up in a motel -- I’m not sure if that was for our benefit or so the other campers could get some sleep!
After trying to sleep in a tent while it was lightning outside and thundering inside, any motel with a bed looked inviting. We chose the “Dream Lodge Motel” because it was close to the campsite. The signs out front made it look fairly inviting but the mood changed when we went into the office. We knocked on the glass window. The lady behind the desk didn’t smile at all and looked bothered that we were interrupting her. As my mom paid for the room I looked around the office and saw a bunch of warnings and prohibitions. Here are a couple that I remember:
If you say you have one person in your room and you have two you will be kicked out.
Absolutely no one allowed after 10 p.m.
If you have an emergency don’t call the office -- call 911 (that would have been hard to do because there were no phones in the rooms)
The “Dream Lodge” had 16 rooms and I counted 13 rules and regulations. We were so tired and so grateful to my parents for the break from camping that it didn’t really bother us. At the same time, we both felt like the motel would have been just as happy to not have any guests stay there. By emphasizing their rules, they took the joy out of their service. They may have had a sign by the road that said, “Welcome” but their invitation seemed hollow once we took a closer look.
As I thought about this, I was reminded of how Psalm 95 begins: “Come…” God longs for us to come into His presence. He’s not concerned about laying down a bunch of rules and requirements. Instead, John 4:23 tells us that God is seeking worshippers who will adore Him in spirit and in truth. He sends out the invitation to each of us. He wants us to come without hesitation. You and I are invited into His very presence.
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