And then... Joy

Traveler’s Tip #344 
Somehow Michelle and I missed winter this year. And somehow…that’s okay. 
“Lord I believe. Help my unbelief!” 
Remember that guy? If I believed in reincarnation, which I don’t, then I think could have been him in a past life. I stood on stage a few days ago and half-joked that the problem with living on faith is that it takes so much stinking faith (half–joked being the operative word). Sometimes, pilgrims, you just get tired. Sometimes your body hurts. Sometimes you feel like if you have to spend one more minute in the car you’re going to pound your head against the steering wheel… 
But then there’s today. Night has passed and the sun is bright. I’m on the road in California, sitting under a tree while a squirrel the size of a Shetland pony munches on an orange and checks me over with sugar-glazed eyes. My only immediate problem is that the on food the patio table in front of me is healthy Trader Joe’s and not an In-N-Out burger. Which—come to think of it—might be a decidedly serious issue. Ah…first world problems. But that’s another blog… 
Yes, all things are new. 
You see, yesterday morning I prayed. 
And last night God answered. 
            “Why are you surprised?” He says. 
            “I’m not surprised. I’m blown away.” I sense that He’s pleased by this. 
Travelers, life hurts. But when we know Him even though it hurts, it’s always good. Some of you are reading this from your mountaintop. Some from the valley dark. Believe me, I know every foot of the road, both places. If I can give you anything today, please hear this. You are loved and the pain—as hard as it is—is only for a season. In it He has purpose, and it’s always for our good.    
Then there are those of you reading this who don’t believe at all. I know your names. But more importantly, so does He. And, friends, your doubt has no bearing on His existence. Nor His goodness. He loves you deeply. So do I! 
Me? At times I’m a wanderer. I’m a struggler, a sinner, and a wrestler of God. But tell me He doesn’t exist? He doesn’t care? You might as well say that water isn’t wet and the ground beneath my feet isn’t solid. Tell me not to breathe in and out. You see, I know Him well. And, more importantly, He knows me.   
Lord, thank you. I believe. Forgive my unbelief. 
Press on Pilgrims, we’re in this together,