The email ad from the discount airlines exudes warmth and relaxation, beckoning me to join the nicely tanned couple sitting on an empty beach under a clear blue sky, surrounded by warm sand being lapped by gently rolling waves of sparkling ocean, lazily sipping from umbrella drinks as they enjoy four days and three nights of refreshment.
The ad stands in stark contrast to the blinding whiteness in my window, especially when I realize the whiteness I’m seeing isn’t from crisp new snowfall, but from the reflection of my pasty white arms and legs.
The ad promises me all the refreshment the Caribbean has to offer for a deeply discounted price, if only I act now before the offer expires.
Let me share the reality of how this vacation would actually go down. I’d have to work twice as hard for several weeks both before and after the trip to carve out the time to take off.
Once I arrived at the beach, I’d find that warm sand stuck to the greasy sunblock lotion smeared all over the aforementioned pasty appendages.
The umbrella drinks wouldn’t last long once I realized my continued consumption would result in a bar tab exceeding the cost of my discounted airfare.
The blue sky and clear water would still be there, but they’d lose their luster upon the realization that I’d be sharing them with 10,000 other equally stressed northerners searching for refreshment as well.
Whatever bit of refreshment instilled by the Caribbean would evaporate the minute the return flight touched back down on the frozen tundra of reality.
As good as what that fleeting refreshment would be, the Bible promises refreshment that’s so much better:
Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord. (Acts 3:19)
This isn’t an offer from a fly by night discount airline. This is an offer from God Himself. It promises that your sins may be wiped out, not just set aside for four days and three nights. This is a benefit that replaces the tension existing between God and His people with everlasting peace!
But the word that caught my eye as I read it again is the refreshment the Lord will bring. We think of refreshment as a time out from the pressures of life, which is why the beach ad is so appealing.
But this Greek word means so much more. It literally translates as another soul. It’s not that you’re suddenly a different person, rather you’re a person who is regenerated — made new again, totally refreshed, awaiting a world that will be refreshed and made new again as well.
We’re actually reading Acts 3 today in our 5x5 Bible Reading plan. Join us on Facebook or at wgtncrc.org/bible. It probably won’t improve your tan, but through it you can enjoy true and lasting refreshment as you experience the peace that comes from Jesus Christ.
Chad Werkhoven is pastor at Worthington Christian Reformed Church.