As I watched three of my grandkids (Celeste-11, Mariah-13, Zeke-6) play together on the shore of one of our Missouri lakes one short week ago, I thought about the summer seasons of life. How free it feels to shed the jeans and jackets and put on shorts and sandals once again! We feel lighter, like we tossed aside our burdens at the same time. As spring comes to an end, life holds endless opportunity. Summer is always too short but it doesn’t appear that way when you stand at the brink of it. It is pure joy! Now we can finally make the dreams of those dull and dreary winter days a reality!
Like the treasure of sunshine on a summer day, how simple God has designed life to be. Give a kid a stick and a plastic cup and put her on the shore of a body of water and watch her play. (Granted, she may have to “detox” from her electronic devices first.) Even as kids begin to transition into those chaotic teen years they seem to welcome a safe opportunity to lose themselves in child’s play, desiring to preserve the remaining essence of carefree living. (“Safe” to a preteen is often defined as out of the sight of peers.)
I’m reminded that joy is always captured through simple things. It is rarely recognized in the midst of complex, overcrowded schedules. And it is certainly not found in the abundance of choices we often covet and then label “opportunity.” We tend to complicate life too much, not just for ourselves but for our families too. We’ve lost the simplicity that breeds pure joy and satisfaction. Enrolling our children in lots of summer activities feels right to many parents. After all, if we have the opportunity to expose our kids to things we always wanted to do but weren’t able to take part in, it seems wrong to deny them. And, no doubt, there are some activities that do offer lasting opportunity. They may prove to be worth the cost. There is no question that God has designed each of us to be lifelong students, always learning, growing, and using our gifts and blessings appropriately.
Yet, it is often today’s over complication of life that crowds out any hope of contentment and the peace of mind that accompanies it. It is notable, isn’t it, that you rarely meet anyone who is satisfied with his/her life these days, at any age. Are we teaching our children that there is a hidden cost to the commercial age we live in? Sure, they can run themselves silly, accumulate stuff and always long for more but the true cost of such a lifestyle is lack of joy. No satisfaction=no contentment=no joy. Joy will not be experienced until one is satisfied with what they have and who God has created them to be. Paul reminds Timothy that “godliness with contentment is great gain.” That is where life’s treasure lies.
With the advent of another summer of life on this earth, schedules change. Herein lies true opportunity that can pay off big time. Look to the Lord for the simple yet profound pleasures He offers His children. Christians don’t need more stuff, they need to believe “He is enough!” Finding satisfaction in the pure blessings provided by Father God is the invitation to a life of peace and blessed contentment. This is the great gain He desires for each of His children. The stars will be brighter, the wind cooler, the trees greener, the grass and flowers more fragrant and the joy of breathing it all in delicious!
With the cry of a child who searches for summer joy in the only place it may be found we join the shepherd David and say, “Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.” (Ps 90:14)
In the summer of life, it’s always a good day!
Praise the Father who provides every good and perfect gift,