I Aced My Vacation


Blessed be the Lord, my rock,
who trains my hands for war,
and my fingers for battle (PS 144.1)

I’m happy to announce that I aced my vacation.

Amazingly, I had no training and still passed with flying colors. I killed deck-lounging and mystery novel reading. Breezed through staying-up-late and sleeping-in with no problem. Pulled off hanging-out-with-fam-and-friends without even breathing hard.

I didn’t need any training for vacation, but vacations always end and it’s back to real life, which for believers in Christ, the Bible calls war. Paul calls it fighting the good fight of faith. He calls it warfare in Ephesians and tells us we must take up weapons and armor to stand firm. He encourages Timothy to be a good soldier. Peter tells us Satan’s prowling around like a roaring lion and we need to resist his attacks.

The Lord trains every one of his children for battle. He introduces pressure and hardship. He drops us in the middle of the desert and teaches us to depend on him and keep our eyes fixed on the cross. Sometimes he straps heavy packs on our backs so we learn to endure and persevere. We fall down and he urges, “Get back up again! Keep running! Don’t give up!”

Sometimes God takes us to the front lines, or hangs us on the side of a cliff to keep us clinging to him in prayer. Sometimes He exposes us to the “friendly fire” of criticism or other’s sin, so we’ll learn to forgive our brothers and sisters.

And when we can run a mile with a 50-pound pack on our backs, he ups it to 5 miles with a 100-pound pack.

Don’t be surprised if you feel like you’re in combat. The Lord is training your hands for war and your fingers for battle. He’s strengthening you to be able to bear even more. He’s deepening your trust in him, building up your endurance, fortifying your faith.

So bless the Lord! Bless the Lord who trains your hands for war. Bless the Lord who is doing great things in your life through the hardships you are facing.

photo by gopal1035

Mark Altrogge

I’m a pastor at Saving Grace Church in Indiana, PA. I’m married to Kristi, have 5 kids, and a growing number of grandkids. I enjoy songwriting, oil painting and coffee, not necessarily in that order.