Lori and I live in Colorado. Our daughters live in So. Cal. From our driveway to Lindsey’s home is 1,103 miles and 1,051 to Meagan’s. That’s a lot of miles between us.
I deeply wish we were together more often—enjoying the grace and intimacy of being geographically close allows as well as the greater weight and effect my life would have upon them. I miss them. I miss the just “being” there, swinging by in the morning with a bagel, a kiss and a my 2–cents on the issue du jour. Or the family and a circle of friends sitting on the beach quietly applauding another beautiful sunset together. But, and it’s a B I G “but”, Colorado, a thousand-plus miles away, is where God has us and I wouldn't want to be anywhere else.
About seven years ago Lori and I moved from a beach community in LA to the side of the Rockies to partner with John Eldredge in this ministry called Ransomed Heart. I had been a pastor on a once dynamic, passionate and gifted staff at a church with a national reputation for creatively pursuing God, His purposes and all peoples. But, as it often happens, there were some staff changes and with that came a contagion that horribly disfigured the church as a few pharisaic kamikazes flew it into a granite massif. The massif, the staff and the church have never been the same.
Sub-biblical leadership is a bad thing!
God’s clear call to Colorado/Ransomed Heart seemed, to us, on the scale of God calling Abram to “Leave your country, your people and your father's household and go to the land I will show you.” To leave it “all” took a strong and persistent voice. True to His revelatory nature, He obliged us, and we followed Him.
Among other things, “following” God eventually requires a pretty deep and firm belief that He is good, that His heart is for you and from that heart He will provide above and beyond all that’s lost in the pursuit.
I’d also add that, eventually, following God requires an awareness and embrace of the larger story that we’re living in. At some point, tagging along with God will involve taking a risk you cannot manage, a battle with an uncertain ending, a Goliath adversary, a traitorous friend or a circumstance that is the very thing you've feared facing all your life. How can you rightly interpret your life, God’s involvement or your course if you question the goodness of God and view The Story as being all about you? You can't.
The life we yearn for is found by knowing God as our Loving Father, and that the story we’re living in is epic in nature and scope. And though our role is mythic and crucial, the main character of this story is God and His redemptive, victorious love of us. I am beginning to understand this more clearly.
So… in June, my family (daughters, spouses, grand daughters) joined more of our family (Bill, Anita and Michael) at Lake Havasu for a little "family" vacation. Lake Havasu is the desert playground on the Colorado River bordering Arizona and California that has the London Bridge arching over it. (Years ago Havasu actually bought the London Bridge, and moved it to this bass-fishing and Spring-Break-Gone-Wild mecca as a tourist magnet). On our first night there, Bill, Anita, Lori, Meagan, Lindsey and I are in a ski boat on the lake as the sun is setting enjoying one another and a mid-level price-performing chardonnay. We swam, laughed, talked and soaked in the beauty of a fiery sunset.
It’s those moments I want to last forever. Family, friends, beauty, joy... it was awesome.
One of my daughters says to me, “I love being together as family.” I smile, I hug her and weep wishing for so very much more of this! An hour later we’re on shore walking back to the Lake House and she softly says to me, “Dad, for a little while there on the boat with you I forgot I was an adult.”
I am a rich man. And for a little while there in Havasu, I forgot I lived so far from the ones I love most, I forgot the ache, the yearning, the grief. In the presence of a good father, a lot of things are forgotten.The life I want most isn't found in Havasu, Colorado or So. Cal. It’s in the presence of my Father.