I recently heard the story of a couple that I know who went to celebrate their anniversary at an expensive hotel. Along with the room, they also had reservations at a five-star restaurant and all the bells, whistles, and roses to go with it. They were so happy when they checked-in. Their room was overlooking a beautiful pool and lounge area, with elegant umbrellas and cabanas, surrounded by palm trees. It looked regal, like paradise, exquisite in every way.
Until night fell.
It’s funny how things can take a turn. Something so lovely and enticing from one perspective, can so quickly reveal itself to be quite the opposite from another. Such was the case for my friends, who learned that a Saturday night at nice hotel overlooking the pool could bring out all the noise and gallantry of a frat party after finals. They were not amused.
This got me thinking how sometimes even our best intentions can lead to disappointment. Things just don’t turn out as we hope. What we envision for our lives and circumstances, don’t necessarily pan out to look like we imagined. Even when we are good, faithful, loving people, where we end up is not how we started. It’s happened in my own life, and I’m sure you can relate on some level in yours.
How much worse is it for someone who willingly dives into the pool of sin, thinking they will come out unscathed? That everything will be just like they planned. They go into situations with their eyes wide-open thinking they’ve got it all figured out.
It simply never is what they thought they made reservations for.
The enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy. He’s good at it. He is always out prowling, looking for willing participants to give a tour of Eden to. Temptation comes in all kinds of beautiful packaging that we think can’t possibly harm us. Look at that tree! How delectable that fruit looks!
They don’t see the trap that comes disguised like a lounge chair, inviting them to sit a spell.
Folks will come up with all kinds of excuses to justify their reasons for sinning… It’s my life! I’m not hurting anyone! I deserve a little fun! No one can tell me what to do! On the surface, it sounds almost reasonable. They just don’t understand that everything has a consequence. Everything.
It’s been said, that sin will take you farther than you want to go, and cost you more than you will want to pay. You can’t undo the hurt it causes. You can’t get back what you’ve given away. You can’t un-bite the apple.
I’ve lived long enough to know people who have traded their lives, and all they have worked for, in a rush of adrenaline at what the enemy dangled before of their eyes. It all looked so comfy, so exotic, so satisfying. Caviar! Fine wine! Shagging on the beach! What a life!
Until one day, the music stops, and everyone that they once loved is no longer around. I can’t imagine a sadder scenario. And yet, it happens all the time.
My point is, things are not always what they seem. We have to be diligent in weighing carefully what life sometimes offers by way of opportunities and and seemingly innocent people who can lead us into territories like a pied piper. We have to listen to our intuition and pay attention to what the Holy Spirit may be saying when we stray a little too far from where we should be.
Keeping our eyes on God protects us, not just from the normal disappointments in life, but also from troubles that we don’t always realize we are vulnerable to find. He gives us boundaries. He gives us faithfulness, integrity, and common sense to size up a situation before we dip our toe into the shallow end of the pool. The Holy Spirit will lead us away from temptation and cause us to see sin for what it really is. It’s the destroyer of lives, of marriages, of families.
When we sin, our check-out view is never the same as when we checked-in. We are changed forever in little and big ways, and sometimes for generations.
My friends ended up having a fabulous time, just the same. They realized that at a certain time, the pool would close and the quiet and tranquility would return. All was well.
I pray that what you seek, you will find in God. He wants for us to enjoy our lives, to appreciate our blessings, and to be satisfied in knowing that He has good things for us even in the midst of frustrations and disappointments.
Things don’t always happen perfectly like you think they will. But with God, they will always turn out for the best.
Hang in there. Enjoy the view.