June 7th 2012 No comments yet
This day, sitting in our room on the 24th floor of the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas with a floor to ceiling view of two astonishing sites… I felt cursed. I had just come from an incredible weekend watching my amazing 16-year-old daughter play national caliper soccer in San Antonio. Able to pay for hotel, food, and transportation while in San Antonio… safe and secure… blessed with no worries.
My daughter traveled home with a precious family friend…safe and secure…blessed with no worries. She would be met at home by my two other girls and the three would share memory building sister bonding time….safe and secure… blessed with no worries. When I left the soccer tournament I was dropped off at the airport, grabbed lunch, read the paper, and boarded the plane bound for Las Vegas to meet my precious wife…safe and secure… blessed with no worries.
I landed in Vegas and immediately “blessed with no worries” became “cursed with bitterness.” The deeper the taxi took me into the city, the deeper the bitterness penetrated and dominated my thoughts. I arrived at the hotel and was met by my gorgeous, talented, and loving wife. She proudly and excitedly escorted me up to her company-paid-for room. In the pre-dusk hours our view was stunning, and this view was just the warm-up band.
We chatted pleasantly, reconnected on all the kid stuff, I downloaded the weekend soccer minutia and she uploaded her agenda for the conference she was attending, the reason we were both here. After 27 years of marriage, we do this well. Great wife, great place, great next three days…but “safe and secure…blessed with no worries”…became…vulnerable and anxious…cursed with bitterness.
She left to attend some pre-conference busyness. I pulled a chair in front of the floor to ceiling windows, with dusk fading to night; I could look left and see the lights of Vegas. All I saw was everything I detest. Greed and gluttony, indulgence and idolatry, and sin and no savior. I would then look straight ahead and the slope of the mountains that surround the city were absolutely ablaze with the setting sun. I turn left again, the self-righteous curse that ignites the embers of bitterness, equally ablaze in my heart when I realized how deeply I resented everything that Vegas is. I looked straight ahead again, and the mountains that were merely ablaze, now seemed to explode with a supernatural vibrancy. To the left…straight ahead. To the left…straight ahead. Each turn of the head amplified the moment. Once more…to the left….and then straight…and then…I heard it.
“Steve, to left is the epitome of man’s indulgence of pleasure. The most elaborate and purposeful design to gratify your base urges. You even call it “sin city” and boast what’s done here, stays here. As if there were secret places from me. Look straight ahead, my setting sun, on my created mountains; doesn’t that make the lights and buildings to your left seem like child’s play?” Now notice something else, my mountains surround what man has built. I have it under my control.”
When the truth of the monologue sunk in….cursed and bitter, once again became blessed with no worries. This epiphany was more than spiritual assent….it was freedom. Freedom to behave as I am called to behave as a man of God. It wasn’t and isn’t my fight. He is who He says He is. Sovereign.
I came to Las Vegas to be with my wife, to support her, encourage her, and love her. She is an amazing woman who is a leader in her company that provides care for special needs children. Her company does it with compassion, with integrity, and with success. How good is that. How close had I come to allow my cursed nature… to nurture bitterness… and ruin a blessing. How many times have I missed the opportunities God has given me because I am self-righteously fighting a fight…that I was not meant to fight? Living as cursed and bitter versus blessed with no worries. And isn’t it just like God to show up in the middle of something that looks so “un-God-like.”
Look around, what are you fighting today that you need to let go of? To be free. To see and experience God. What would your today look like if you were free to do what God set out for you to do…today?
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