Our travel northbound that afternoon went smoothly heading toward our Kentucky apartment. The hurricane
had closed sections of I-95 and our alternative route home would add more than 2 hours to the planned 11.5 hour trip. When we hit northern Florida, the southbound traffic lanes became full and crawled along as people returned to find what Matthew had done to their homes, businesses & communities. As tired as we were, we knew better than attempt to complete a 13.5 hour drive with no stops. We were worn out from our vacation - having spent the past 48 hours onboard a ship sailing along the coast of Cuba waiting to see if & when we could get into Port Canaveral. We had a wonderful time with loved ones on the cruise but, were definitely tired. When we finally got off the ship in the afternoon, we wanted to drive as far north as possible before stopping for 6-8 hours of sleep at a hotel.
It would be past midnight before we could reach the Atlanta area and the LOML was getting pretty tired as the sun began to set. I hopped on my smartphone (thank you Lord for that blessing) and began searching for a hotel in north Florida where we could rest. The next 6+ hours was spent with the LOML driving north & me online and making calls trying to find a hotel room for 6-8 hours of rest in the night. The hotel search broadened to Georgia. It would be too late to bother friends on the northwest side of Atlanta. The hotel search moved into western South Carolina. Although it would be in the early hours of the morning before we got there, we really wanted to rest in a bed. For those hours, the words and definitely the haunting melody of the first 2 words of John W. Peterson's old Christmas song came to mind...
No room, only a manager of hayFinally, a little after 1am, we just had to stop to rest. So, in the parking lot that joined two completely FULL hotels, we locked our car doors and rested. A few hours later, we were on the road but, had to stop again at a Rest Area in South Carolina to catch another hour or so of sleep. It was there that I noticed we weren't the only people sleeping in their cars!
No room, He is a stranger today
No room, here in His world turned away
No room, no room.
At the time the hurricane bore down on the Caribbean (Haiti - devastating loss & damage; the Bahamas; other islands) and a huge portion of the US east coast, we were safe at sea avoiding the storm while watching and praying from our vantage point. There was a sense of gratitude for where we were (safely distanced from the storm) and a huge sense of guilt that others didn't have the choice or the means to get to a safe location. Thousands of people lost loved ones in this storm and, many lost homes & businesses. The rescue operations have not yet stopped! Looking back, we were so very fortunate to have our experience! Having a car to sleep in and having an unaffected apartment to come home to in Kentucky are huge blessings.
My 6-hour hotel search was long & intense. Thinking back on it though, if there truly we no rooms for us to stay in that night, I am grateful that those rooms likely helped people who lost much more than a good night's rest! As a believer in Christ, I especially love the promise from 1 Thessalonian 18...
“This is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus...
Be thankful in all circumstances.”
(PLEASE SEE FOOTNOTE AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS POST)
Here are the full lyrics of "No Room (For Baby Jesus)" by John W. Peterson, from the songbook "Night Of Miracles":
No room, only a manager of hayNo room, He is a stranger todayNo room, here in His world turned awayNo room, no room.
No room, here in the hearts of mankindNo room, no cheery welcome could findNo room, surely the world is blindNo room, no room.
Angels, in heaven up yonderWatch with amazement and wonderTo see the Son of the Highest treated soNo room.
No room, only a manager of hayNo room, He is a stranger todayNo room, here in His world turned awayNo room, no room, no room.FOOTNOTE: Here's my thoughts on that scripture...
- For those who love & serve Jesus and who claim Him as our Lord & Savior. we need to be careful to acknowledge that God can and will use the worst of circumstances in our lives for good in His overall loving plan. He will bring goodness out of the bad! We might not always see that right away. But, I am convinced that good will come of all that happens to us and to those we love.
- For those whose beliefs are not in Jesus Christ, I personally believe that God loves you and is working always for your good. I do not believe that God only protects the people who claim to be Christians. I do not believe that Christians get or deserve better chances in times of tragedy & loss. I believe that God's plan of LOVE is open to everyone and that each person is LOVED equally by God. His LOVE is a gift - and not a reward!
5 Minute Free-For-All – No Room in the Inn - #write31days 10-10-16
This was a free-write post... but, definitely took longer to write than 5 minutes :)