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Thursday September 21st 2017

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Recreational Vehicles

Previously, I wrote about our pursuit of the American Dream, its pros and cons, and how most view it as improving yourself economically, owning your own home, building a retirement nest-egg, etc. But, perhaps the most compelling symbol for those who’ve achieved the American Dream is embodied in just two letters: RV.

Many people want to pay off their mortgage or have a nice retirement so they can do one thing: have the freedom to purchase a Recreational Vehicle and hit the road. My parents did just this a while back, spending five years traveling the country, working at different camps, enjoying the good life. My wife and I have often whispered of selling all we own, buying an RV, and heading out into the unknown.

RV life is an adventure. You get to trade your ordinary, predictable world for a life of scenic beauty and imagination. The road is always before you. There is newness and variety to the people you meet, the places you see, the potential to start anew with each new day. The very word recreational speaks of a life of refreshment and joy; you just need a vehicle to get you there.

It occurs to me that you and I are recreational vehicles. Or at least we can be if we change our focus a bit and see ourselves with different eyes.

Did you realize that God’s conspicuous activity throughout most of temporal, human history hasn’t been so much creative as it has been re-creational? In other words, of the hundreds of chapters in the biblical story, only the first few pages directly narrate God’s activity as Creator (despite retrospective allusions elsewhere).

From the time He “formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life,” the rest of God’s story, and ours, largely involves recreation–transforming ordinary, profane, fallen “material” into something sanctified and glorious.

My own story is certainly a microcosm of this recreational endeavor. Through God’s breath into my dusty form, strength and reconciliation have arisen from a life of weakness and brokenness; relational passion, intimacy, and purity have been recreated from a past of rejection, distance, and misplaced desire. He continues my metamorphosis still and will continue it for his own glory.

I often tell people who bemoan the fact that they have never experienced the miracles of old–the parting of the Red Sea, sight to the blind, the dead rising from the grave–that they are ignoring the miracles that occur every day right under our noses:

Have you ever witnessed someone’s character transformed from a life of selfishness into a life of service to others? Perhaps a sexually-abused girl who now brings spiritual healing to those with a similar past? Have you ever seen a lifeless marriage that somehow rediscovers love, forgiveness, and intimacy? If you claim these kind of events aren’t miracles, you must be living in denial.

It is wise to note, however, that most miracles only appear supernatural to us. Really, they simply involve the Creator, transforming, recreating that which already exists though it is at first unseen by our human eyes. Abraham was given the ability to have a child decades beyond what was considered natural because he trusted in the God who “gives life to the dead and calls the things that are not, the things that are.”

Do you spend your days in drudgery and meaninglessness, pining away for a future when you might have the freedom to enjoy what is good? Do you see only how ordinary, how profane, how fallen you are, only a world of darkness, suffering, and brokenness? It is naive to deny that such realities exist. But, if you simply change your direction and your focus, there is a light that can transform who you are and what you see.

To be a recreational vehicle is about focusing on the unseen road before you, always driving yourself toward this faithful Creator who knows the end from the beginning, this God who can give you a new heart and a new spirit, who calls the things we believe are not, the things that are.

Don’t wait for retirement to step out on such a glorious adventure. You have only to turn around to leave the darkness behind you. The sunrise awaits.

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About John Michalak

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An author, speaker, musician, and minister, John Michalak has spent more than 20 years equipping others in the areas of life-change and personal relationship. John’s inspirational new book, 365 Devotions To Embrace What Matters Most is now available from Zondervan publishing.

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8 Responses to “Recreational Vehicles”

  1. Greg says:

    Love it John…

    American dream humbug!!!

    God’s plan? So much better!!

  2. Bruce Nuffer says:

    Here’s an interesting thought that ties into your thinking about re-creational. Eric Leafblad has made me think about this lately. If you notice in the creation story, days one through six all have evening and morning. They are completed. But day seven has no morning and evening. It has no completion. Day seven is consummation, or fulfillment of the promise of life, the promise that is rooted in who God is and who God determines to be for his creation. This is why it is the blessed day, the holy day, because it is the unending day of future-promise when all of creation finds rest or wholeness — Shalom — in life with God. The re-creation we evidence when God transforms our lives are the continuing fulfillment of day 7. We tend to think nothing was created on day 7. I disagree. I think hope was created on day 7.

  3. Great stuff. Thanks, Bruce. 🙂

  4. Jason Dominy says:

    Nice work, good sir. Excellent thoughts to chew on…

  5. John,
    Great thoughts. I perused your other recent blogs and found myself inspired! Keep up the excellent work!
    Greg Laskowski

  6. Thanks for your kind comments, Greg. 🙂

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