I recently reread some portions of Practicing the Presence of God. If you’ve never read this devotional classic, Brother Lawrence, a monk, describes through a series of letters and interviews, how he kept his mind focused on the Lord even during mundane tasks.
It’s a beautiful book that teaches us how to have a running conversation with the Lord throughout our day, always in tune with His presence in our lives.
In today’s busy world with numerous tasks, we sometimes tend to compartmentalize our lives, even if it’s not our intent: We have our home life, work life, recreation, and then there’s church. But our relationship with God should be something that permeates all of our lives, no matter where we are or what we are doing.
With all of this on my heart this past week, my husband and I set off to Disney World to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. Knowing that there is nothing spiritual about Disney World–at least not in a Christian sense–I purposed in my heart to look for Jesus in everything.
I was not disappointed.
First stop–Animal Kingdom
We rode some rides, and, of course, enjoyed Festival of the Lion King show, but my favorite part was the Kilimanjaro Safari, a guided tour through an African savanna, surrounded by the beauty of God’s creation. How can we look upon the giraffe, the elephant, the lion, and the flamingo, and not be in awe of the God who designs with such creativity, uniqueness, and beauty?
Even the world of Pandora caused me to marvel at the magnificence of God. If the mind of man can conceive such interesting ideas and colors and designs, how much more the mind of God who created him!
As we strolled the streets of “Discovery Island,” “Pandora,” “Africa,” and “Asia,” my thoughts were on the God who created such varied and diverse flora and fauna, habitats, and weather patterns.
We had a wonderful day, enjoyed beautiful weather, amazing food, and the very real and present sense of God’s presence with us throughout the day.
Second stop–Epcot (my fave)
Did I mention that Epcot is my favorite Disney park of all? I love the science and technology of Future World; and World Showcase is like traveling the world all in one day.
We started out with my favorite ride, Soarin’. Even the name fills me with joy! Soarin’ is like hang-gliding all across the world. Again, in true Disney style, our senses were filled with the sights, sounds, and even the smells of locations all over the globe–places created by our magnificent God!
“But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31).
Spaceship Earth is my second favorite ride, no matter how many times I’ve experienced it. The ride goes back to the beginning of time and brings the rider into the present, describing how man has advanced using the tools given in Creation to do so.
Of course, the narration begins with something similar to nothingness millions of years ago. Aloud I quoted, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” Fit right in with what we were experiencing.
“Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters” (Genesis 1:2).
Yep, that’s exactly what it looked like to me. Then God created, filled the earth, and gave mankind dominion over the earth and the tools he needed for survival (Genesis 1:28).
We did Living with the Land, a boat tour through greenhouses with a narration about how man is using technology to produce more food for a growing planet–all part of using the mind God has given us to provide. We watched a documentary called Circle of Life about taking care of the environment and (in my mind) being good stewards of this earth God has given us.
We enjoyed a few more rides, such as Mission SPACE, which simulates a space launch, again reminding us of the intelligence God has given man to explore and learn.
Then we headed over to the World Showcase, where we enjoyed lunch in Mexico, dessert in Spain, dinner in Germany, and another dessert in the United Kingdom (Whole what?).
As the sun began to set, we strolled the streets of the world, surrounded by the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and even the textures of various cultures of the world. I was again reminded of the diversity of our God, who created us with different skin tones, languages, customs, and mannerisms.
The unique music, food, art, and architecture of each culture displayed the magnificence of God. The Epcot International Festival of the Arts is going on right now, so we enjoyed many displays of fine art and music.
I was reminded of God’s heart for all people–His heart is for souls.
“This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:3-4).
“‘Great and marvelous are your deeds, Lord God Almighty. Just and true are your ways, King of the ages, Who will not fear you, O Lord, and bring glory to your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship before you, for your righteous acts have been revealed'” (Revelation 15:3b-4).
God’s desire is that His love be spread to all nations of the world!
Third Stop–Magic Kingdom
Magic Kingdom is supposed to be the place where dreams come true. It represents the joy and fun of childhood and the imagination. For me–it’s a reminder that heaven will be above and beyond all we can think or imagine.
“However, as it is written:
‘No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him'” (1 Corinthians 2:9).
As magical as it is to ride the railroad, climb the Swiss Family Treehouse, explore Tom Sawyer’s Island, and glide through It’s a Small World, nothing can compare to all that God has in store for us in eternity–streets of gold, gates of pearl, a sea of glass.
You see, there truly is a “tale as old as time,” and it really does involve a Beauty and a beast. It’s called the gospel. Jesus is that Beauty, and you and I are the beast. No matter what the world tries to tell us, we are not all good at heart. We are born with sinful hearts, made beastly by our sin.
“Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me” (Psalm 51:5).
Only the love of Jesus can make us beautiful by cleansing us from sin.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins, and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
He alone gives us our “happily ever after.”
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
He invites us to come and be His guest at the table for all eternity.
“‘Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and be glad and give him the glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.’ (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints.) Then the angel said to me, ‘Write: “Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!”‘” (Revelation 19:6b-9a).
The best part of our trip? Just the two of us, hand in hand, exploring and tasting and celebrating twenty-five years together. Who knows how much longer we have on this earth? But while we are here, we can enjoy each other and share the greatest story ever heard with those around us.
Because one day, we will enjoy a magical, wonderful, beautiful Kingdom for all eternity–far greater than anything Walt Disney could ever conceive. And at its center will be the One whom our hearts have always longed for–our Prince who has come, our Knight in shining armor, the King of kings and Lord of lords.
“For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians1:13-14).
Yep. I guess dreams really do come true.