Driving away from the airport, Roxanne wove through rush hour traffic, enroute to her motel, as indecisiveness plagued her mind.
Should this be a laid-back beach vacation? Should I write my autobiography of my troubled childhood? Do I really have to forgive my father?
Although her trip to Florida was intended to forgive her dying father, Roxanne didn’t want to face this man, again, whom she hadn’t seen in twenty years. But if she was to grow as a Christian, as well as continue in her own recovery as the adult child of an alcoholic, she knew she had to forgive him for abandoning her and her mother.
At least I’m near the ocean, she mused. She loved the Palm Beaches.
Pulling up to the motel office, she prayed for a ground floor room.
“Room 253,” the motel manager said, giving her a key.
“No rooms on the first floor?”
“Sorry, Ma’am, all taken.”
Lord! She whined, pulling her heavy suitcase out of the car trunk. Didn’t you hear me ask for a ground floor room?
The still small voice was back, whispering in her ear, i>Do everything without complaining or arguing. (Philippians 2:14) NIV
“I’m supposed to be on vacation….Can I ever get a vacation from you?” She mumbled as she drug her suitcase up the stairs.
Finding room 253, Roxanne unlocked the door and surveyed the room. Let’s see….broken TV remote …also, raining….Does this mean a writing vacation? …Not even a coffeemaker or hairdryer? What-a-dump….room service ….$5.00 extra? Total rip off!
Then that little voice chimed in again….
Whoever wants to be first must be your slave---just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many. (Matthew 20:27)NIV
Do you always have to rain on my pity party?
Glancing out the window at the sheets of pounding rain, she wondered if she’d even see the beach this week.
Roxanne barricaded herself in her room for the next two days, sleeping late and writing the opening chapters of her autobiography, as the rain continued to hammer against her window pane.
By the fourth day, the maids began to wonder about the “Do Not Disturb” sign which remained on Room 253’s doorknob.
”Newlyweds!” A heavyset, middle-aged housekeeper chuckled.
“I Don’t think so,” her coworker said. “The Spirit’s showing me a confused young woman inside who’s running from a God-assignment.” She gently rested her sweaty palm on the doorknob and quietly said a pray for the motel guest in room 253.
Inside Roxanne stirred in her bed. The sun splashed liquid gold across her bedsheets…… Her eyes popped open.
Good grief! It’s already mid-morning. Finally, the sun! Can’t waste a good beach day.
But then the still small voice reminded her…Roxanne, don’t forget your father….Remember….you fly back home tomorrow.
Not you, again. Please go.
Manually turning on the TV, (for the first time) for a weather report, she froze in disbelief as every station related total devastation, showing a sea of destitute, confused people in total depravity. She’d been so wrapped up in her own problems she’d forgotten that a killer category 4 hurricane had ripped up the Gulf Coast, killing possibly thousands, and leaving almost a million people homeless.
Her heart grieved for these people, realizing her dilemma seemed petty compared to theirs.
Saddened by reports of dead bodies found floating all over New Orleans, she realized life was too short to hold grudges and prayed her father was still alive. But she still doubted her capacity to forgive him.
Then just as she was about the turn off the TV, she was intrigued with a frail, elderly woman, clutching a small worn Bible as she stood in line to board a bus to Houston’s Astrodome.
“Praise God I grabbed my Bible, “she told reporters. ”This is all I have now, but it’s all I really need.”
Dumbfounded at this poor refugee woman, Roxanne apologized to the still small voice that had been whispering in her ear…Her eyes traveled to the Gideon Bible lying on her nightstand.
Just as she took off the “Do Not Disturb” sign from her doorknob, she also removed the “Do Not Disturb” sign from her heart, dusting off the Bible and inviting the still small voice back into her thoughts. She opened the Bible up to Philippians 4:13…”I can do everything through Him who strengthens me.” (NIV)
Room 253 was more than adequate.
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