My wife & I enjoyed a great weekend in Pigeon Forge, TN, attending the annual Great Smoky Mountains Marriage Retreat (arranged by the congregation in Jacksonville, AL). This was the “good” of our weekend. We traveled with my wife’s brother & his wife, enjoying a great deal of time spent with them. We also met up with some old friends & got to spend some time with them, as well. And, of course, we made some great new friends with whom we look forward to spending more time in the future, Lord willing.
The “bad” of the weekend was having to leave to come home. I am a “home body,” as they say, so I enjoy getting back to “my” place, but every lectureship, retreat, Bible camp, and so on that I have to leave sort of makes me sad; being there is truly a foretaste of heaven itself, and it certainly makes me long for that eternal home.
Finally, there was an “ugly” part of our weekend. We came out of a session Saturday morning to discover the car had been broken into, & my brother-in-law & I had our laptops stolen. They were in the trunk, so I’m not sure what in the car itself enticed the sinner(s) to get inside (the Chik-Fil-A bag in the passenger floorboard, perhaps?). I have learned through the years to back things up, so most of my important data is still with me (thank you, DropBox!), though I had not backed up a few things in a while, so I did lose some. The greatest loss was my brother-in-law’s, though, as he had data backed up…on 4 flash drives that were IN his laptop bag! And, worst of all, they had just taken their little girls to Disney World a few weeks ago, & the camera’s memory card with all the pictures was in the bag. Things are replaceable, for sure (they don’t last, anyway), but those memories captured on photo were more than precious. Seeing the evil in this world just serves to remind us that this world is not our home, & we long for a place where there’s no need to “shut the gates” or lock the doors for safety (Rev. 21:25), for “there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life” (Rev. 21:27)!
Even with the “bad” & the “ugly,” it was a great weekend, & we certainly hope to be able to attend again next year (although we’ll probably leave the laptops at home or else carry them inside with us!).
“For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life” (2 Cor. 5:1-4)