No Day At The Beach

by Pastor Rob Bloss

Darci and I have yet to make a trip to the beach this summer. It’s on the bucket list, but not the calendar. When we go, we like to play a paddle game, throw the football, walk the shore, read, watch people, and work on our tans. But I tend to eventually grow bored at the beach, plus I’m not really a fan of sand finding its way between things.

I share all that to say that I’ve never completely understood the colloquial expression, “It was no day at the beach”. I know it’s like saying “it was no picnic” or “not exactly a walk in the park”. It points to something not fun, a situation which may be difficult to deal with.

A year ago, I was preparing to say good-bye to my boss, to Covenant’s pastor of 18 years, and asking the “why” and “what now” questions. We were deep in the trenches of COVID, and wrestling with the impact of prevailing injustice and the tumult of the political landscape. There was grief, confusion, despair, anger, fear, blame, and doubt. It was NO day at the beach!

But who said it would or should be? Life isn’t a beach. And even though I would prefer it, I know it’s NO day in the mountains either. I have long since accepted the truth Jesus revealed to His disciples that “in this world there will be trouble” (John 16:33).

Many of you are enjoying a degree of freedom this summer that you didn’t have last year. Hopefully, you’re not abusing that freedom, and you continue to be mindful of others who are still wrestling with a range of emotions and experiences. But I know many of you are taking vacations this month, looking for that perfect get-away from it all.

I hope it lives up to your expectations, that it delivers on its promise of rest and relaxation. I mean that! But then what? You’ll come home to a pile of laundry and work – to an empty refrigerator and a larger balance on your credit card?!

Am I raining on your parade? Throwing a wet blanket on your summer plans? Maybe, but that’s not my intention. I’ve just found that if I really, really need a vacation, a day at the beach for example, then it may be too late for me to enjoy the time really and fully.

My time off is better when I arrive with some reserve left in my emotional, spiritual, and relational tanks. When I’m taking care of my mind, body, and soul, I find I’m in a better place to truly savor the riches that God has for me to enjoy. When I have a healthy rhythm to my days and my weeks, then the occasional getaways are just more fun. When I make room for God in my life on a regular basis, I’m a better travel companion to myself and others. This is why it’s important to maintain a sabbath rhythm!

If you’re pulling out as you read this, and one or more of your gauges is already flashing a warning sign that empty is just around the next bend, it’s not too late to fill up. It never is! Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Call upon His name, and He will answer. Cast your cares upon Him, knowing He cares for you.

Did Jesus say in Matthew 11:28-29, “Get away to the beach or head to the mountains, and I will give you rest!”? Of course not! He said “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”