When Jesus Goes on Vacation

"When Jesus Goes on Vacation"

November 1, 2022 | Sharna Clough | Grayling SDA

This year our family took a vacation to the Upper Peninsula (U.P.). I have lived in Michigan my entire life and never realized the beauty and unique culture the U.P. has to offer. True, the cell phone service is spotty and eating out can be difficult if you're a vegetarian. But sometimes getting out of our comfortable daily routines shows us what we can really live without.   

We rented the Timberdoodle Lodge with some of our closest relatives. We spent time visiting, swimming in frigid Lake Michigan, playing pool and enjoying bonfires outside. We hiked waterfalls, stood in awe of Kitch-iti-kipi, Michigan’s largest freshwater natural spring, and visited historical villages. It was a wonderful vacation! But what happened on this vacation set it apart from any other. It changed me.   

It was a beautiful day to visit the Fayette Historic Ghost Town. As we listened to our tour guide, we learned that another couple had lost their car keys that day at the park. I remember thinking, "How awful to lose your keys on vacation!" We continued exploring for another hour or two before we made our way back up to the visitor center for lunch.   

When we got up to the top of the hill, my eldest daughter dramatically informed me that the people had still not found their keys! Concerned, I asked the couple if there was anything we could do? Hope had already been lost. They had searched everywhere. The nearest Toyota dealership was two hours away, with little hope they had the correct key fob. They said that there was nothing anyone could do. 

For some reason it really disturbed me. How would I feel if this was us and all of our vacation plans hinged on finding those keys? How could I go on enjoying my vacation when theirs was in such turmoil? I went to my family seeking alternatives to help them. It seemed there wasn't much we could do but pray for them. Surely, God would help them.  

I went down to bother the couple again. This time the woman was on the phone so I spoke to the man, asking him questions that might give us clues of where to look. His name was Tim. In a few minutes, my husband Jay arrived, asking Tim if he believed in prayer. He  replied, "Well, I’m Catholic (sorta) and I pray in my own way." Jay said "Well, we believe God answers our prayers and He can help you find your keys.” We all bowed our heads and prayed.   

As soon as we prayed, Jay and I left to look for the keys trusting that somehow, someway, God would find them for us. We remembered and shared with each other the story of the axe head and how God showed Elijah where it was. But, would He find them for us? What if He didn't? How would it look? We dismissed those thoughts and chose to trust God.  

As we were walking, God impressed me to just start asking everyone I saw if they had seen any keys. It seemed silly since most of these people had probably just arrived there. The third group we came in contact with had indeed seen a set of keys hanging behind an electrical box facing the opposite direction of where the crowd would walk or see. We ran and struggled to find them at first, but sure enough they were the keys described to us! In less than five minutes, God showed us the keys in a place we could have never found ourselves. 

We rejoiced with exceeding great joy as we presented those lost keys to Tim. I believe God's love spoke to him that day. I am so grateful He used us to do it!   

I love going on vacation. I will always cherish the memories we made with our family. But the way God moved and led us to those keys makes it the best vacation of all time! I realized how great a vacation can be when it isn't just about me, but it’s about allowing Jesus to help me help others wherever I am. I am convinced there is no greater joy (John 16:24).