Of Yellow Speedos, Fool’s Gold, and Dreamsicles
"So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him." Matthew 7:11
In pondering the goodness of God recently, I was overwhelmed by His ability to orchestrate the seemingly tiny details of life to teach us. How great and unimaginable His love for us, His instruction of us.
It is in one such time in the summer of 1976 that God taught me much that still rewards and instructs my heart.
Our family was returning home from visiting relatives in California when we stopped at Bastrop State Park for the usual weekend of relaxation and swimming. We loved the place because it was deep in the woods, filled with wildlife, quiet, had a nice swimming pool with snack shack, and clean bath houses. We would pitch our tent, and my mother and father could rest awhile as their three children frolicked freely in the forest.
On the morning after our arrival, my father emerged from the tent proudly donning a new banana yellow speedo rather than the swim trunks we were accustomed to. The look of horror on Momma's face as he nonchalantly grabbed his towel and flung it over his shoulder was enough to make this Ham grab hers and follow along, if only to watch the fireworks that were sure to ensue.
"Lindsey, you're not going to wear that in public, are you?" said Momma.
"What's wrong with it?" he asked.
"It's too revealing!" she said.
"Everything's covered up," he said. (Score one for Dad.)
"But your skin is so pasty white," she said. (Score one for Mom.)
"Well, I like it," he said.
And with that, he headed off down the trail to the pool with Mom following behind and three kids rushing along after, eager for the show.
As my older brother, Jimmy, made a detour into a dry creek bed, I followed along and we found what looked to be pieces of gold glittering in the morning sun. I quickly loaded every piece I could find into my hands until I could hold no more and rushed to show my mother, thinking it would also be a good speedo distraction.
"Look what I found, Momma! Gold!" I trilled, just sure that we were now richer than rich!
"Well, Prissy, I'm afraid that's something called pyrite or fool's gold."
"Are you sure? It looks like gold to me!" I protested.
"When it flakes off in layers, it's fool's gold," Momma said.
She took a piece and demonstrated, but I was still just sure it was real gold. Seeing my reaction, my mother wisely reminded me that not everything that glitters is gold. She reminded me of John 7:24 which says, "Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment."
Oh, how often I have had to repeat this lesson as my eyes have judged by appearance and I have failed to see what is right and true.
Finally arriving at the pool, Momma watched intently each time Daddy went off the diving board just in case he came up without the yellow speedo and needed a rescue. Much to everyone's surprise and relief, no rescue was ever needed, and we all relaxed into the weekend and the acceptance of Daddy's newfound fashion; so much so, that we failed to apply any sunscreen that day.
To my parents' dismay, I was the crispiest of their three critters with large blisters on each shoulder and everything beet red in between. The remedy from Dad was to spend the next day submerged to my chin in the shady part of the pool. It made no sense to anyone else, but when the other family members questioned, Daddy remained firm in the treatment. So, for the last day of our vacation, I remained in the shady part of the pool submerged to my chin. And, guess what? It worked! The blisters were gone and my skin was good as new by evening. The sunburn didn't even hurt anymore.
As a reward for minding, Daddy took us all to the snack shack for ice cold and irresistible dreamsicles before packing up the last few items and heading home. I couldn't have asked for anything better.
That weekend continues to teach me so much about my Heavenly Father. His ways are not our ways. He always knows what is best and His truth needs no validation by public opinion. When we obey Him, we always receive a reward, a blessing—and it is multiplied.
"Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him." Psalm 34:8
Our Heavenly Father is always comfortable in His identity. May we be comfortable in it, too.