Friday, September 23, 2016


When I think of summer I usually think of Disney World. My sister and I are both single. So a trip to Disney World is very different for us than it is for a family with small children. We make our reservations, hop on a plane and hit the ground running. We relax, eat and sleep on our own timetable. However, for families traveling with small children it’s an entirely different story. Apparently, from my observation, it seems that as soon as a baby is born in America, the parents slap a Disney Magic Band on the baby’s tiny wrist and whisk it off to Disney World. One minute the baby is safe and warm in the mother’s womb and next it’s floating in a boat with the tune of “It’s a Small World” ringing in its tiny, helpless ears. 

I chuckle when I see families arriving with their kids on the first day of their exciting new adventure. Usually, when I see them first arriving, they are all smiling from ear to ear. The kids are all fired up to start their grand journey through Disney. The parents look proud and can’t wait for their kids to experience all the fun that’s waiting for them inside the parks. They have visions of relaxing by the pool, shopping, dining together, laughing and bonding as a warm, close-knit family. But when you see them about midweek it’s a whole different picture. The kids are crying and want to go back to the hotel pool. One kid’s shoes are missing and they have pieces of Mickey Mouse lollipops stuck in their hair. The parents look exhausted as they drag their screaming kids through the park to the next fun attraction. The newborn baby is screaming at the top of its lungs because it has no idea where it is or how it got there, while the mother is loaded down with diaper bags, toy bags, snack bags, and a bag that she picked up by mistake belonging to another family altogether. Later I see the father wrestling with the stroller, trying to fold it down so he can finally take a seat on the bus carrying other screaming kids. Of course, he’ll have to stand for the entire ride because by the time he finally gets on the bus there are no more seats available. Once back in their hotel they throw the kids in the pool and then collapse in a chair somewhere with their heads spinning, wondering why they ever made the trip in the first place. They look like they need a vacation from their vacation.

Christians often experience something similar. We start off on our journey excited and all fired up to go out and do great things for God. We can’t stop smiling and we can’t wait to see what God is going to do in our lives. We’re filled with joy and expectation. We want to share Jesus with everyone we meet, knowing we’re going to absolutely change the world. But later, after we’ve had to fight a few battles, endure a few disappointments and missed expectations, our smiles slowly disappear. We feel tired and weary. Our Bible is dusty and the flame that burned so fiercely in the beginning has turned to a small, flickering pilot light. We just want to get on the bus, go home and curl up on our bed, wondering why we ever started the journey in the first place. Our original dreams start to fade and our pace slows to a crawl. Gradually we allow the simple message of the gospel to become complicated in our minds and we forget the excitement of our first love, Christ. 

Being on fire and staying on fire are two different things. The Bible warns us that we can easily lose our flame if we’re not diligent. If we’re not careful we can let the whining kids, the exhausting pace of life and circumstances overshadow all God has for us.

“Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don’t quit in hard times; pray all the harder.” Romans 12:12-13.  (MSG)

There’s the key to staying on fire for God. Stay focused on Christ, keep expecting good things, even when you can’t see them in front of you and don’t quit just because it gets a little bumpy on your journey. And most of all, pray. Prayer is the fuel for your fire. Remember, God is in the middle of it all and he is so for you. Don’t miss out on the adventure and the plan God has for your life.

P.S. Tip for parents: Be patient and wait until the baby is at least 7 years old before taking it to Disney World. You’ll thank me later.