When I say the "big" trip I don't use that word lightly! Let me explain a bit. Obviously being gone anywhere for 2 1/2 weeks is a pretty big deal, and especially when it involves going to a different hemisphere and continent on planet earth. We flew on a big plane over a big ocean to get there. Australia is a big place ... Sydney is a big city with lots of big buildings, big parks, and big bodies of water. And, of course, our main reason for going was to see our grandson, Quin, who is a big boy ... went to the doctor for a regular check up while we were there and comes in at the 100th percentile in weight, height, etc.
We saw many other amazing and big things while there. The Opera House is huge and the Harbour Bridge next to it is massive - both of these iconic places are spectacular! In one of the parks near their residence we saw some of the biggest bats we've ever seen - these things looked like eagles except for the distinctive bat wings. Several mornings we ate at local cafes and I enjoyed a big brekkie. At one of the beautiful beaches we visited we saw some enormous waves crashing against the large rocky shore. At another beach we watched this big sun rise over the mighty Pacific Ocean.
But the biggest thing we experienced and enjoyed was our God and the abundance of His amazing and wondrous grace. For example, we spent one night north of Sydney in the countryside away from the lights of the city and quickly noticed how big was the sky. In fact, that night we could actually see with the naked eye the Milky Way. And to think, God reigns supreme and sits enthroned over it all! I already mentioned the ocean and beaches ... and our God has numbered every grain of sand and the waters are in the hollow of His hand.
Though it was truly a spectacular trip, it was a tough one to take at this time. It was a big decision for us to leave Seth for that long - not that we don't trust his brothers and greatly appreciate the servant heart of Anita's sister, Cindy, who came and stayed with them, but Seth is sorta special ... not sure he needs me as much as I need him! And there's plenty of other stuff weighing heavy on our hearts these days that made this a big decision to leave the country for so long ... family, church, friends, etc. We had to intentionally and frequently look to our Father, yet constantly found Him and His grace to be more than sufficient. His covenant faithfulness is great and new each and every day.
I was also able to see more clearly how big is my own sin and self-centeredness. Because of my selfish heart I missed opportunities to serve, to engage with others, to proclaim the excellencies of Christ. Yet as God showed me the enormity of my sin He reminded me how much bigger and greater is His forgiveness, mercy, and grace. During the trip I came across this quote from Martin Luther and it has stuck with me since:
"Christ was given up to death not for our righteousness or holiness, but for our sins, which are true sins, great ones, infinitely many and invincible. So do not think they are small and such as may be gotten rid of by your own works; and do not despair because of their greatness if you feel oppressed by them, either in life or in death.
Believe that Christ was given, not for pretend sins, nor for small sins, but for great and huge sins; not for one or two, but for all of them."