[Originally published in the Monroe News on August 4, 2023]
One of the really great things about our beloved state of Michigan is all of the opportunities for recreation. Has anyone ever counted up all of our State Parks and State Recreation areas? I’ve maybe frequented a dozen of them so far and I think I’ve only touched the tip of the iceberg. Our state is truly a haven for camping, boating, fishing, hunting, hiking, etc. The opportunities for recreation are seemingly endless.
My favorite forms of recreation involve hiking and trail running. You might also throw in camping which combines nicely with my favorite forms of movement. Anywhere I go I’m on the lookout for a nice trail to explore. When I have free time (usually a rarity!) I love to head out for some recreation on the trails. One of my big summer adventure goals this year was to hike a big alpine loop over and around two of the biggest mountain peaks in Colorado. It was refreshing!
Recreation is good for all of us no matter what form it takes. If you like the great outdoors then go for it! Maybe your form of recreation is taking care of the garden and the lawn. Perhaps recreation can even be an inside hobby like sewing or crafting. At its heart all recreation needs to be is something we enjoy and hopefully something that helps us renew and rejuvenate. If nothing else, our recreation should also involve rest.
If you were to do a bit of word studying you would find that the word recreation comes from the Latin word for “create again”. Literally we might say “re - creation”.
I love that idea of re-creating. It is a very Godly idea. For it is something that our Lord is doing in this world all the time and something our Lord promises to do with the entire world when the last day comes. A simple example of what I mean is to look at the miracles that Jesus performed during His earthly ministry. When Jesus would return sight to the blind or help the lame person to walk again those miracles were acts of “re-creating”. Jesus was taking that which was broken, that which was against the original design of creation, and He was restoring it and renewing it. His miracles would bring things back to the way they were when first created.
Not always does God’s work of re-creating involve miracles. Sometimes it is just about rest. Resting from the weariness and labor of our daily lives. This is a model God Himself gave when He rests on the 7th day of creation. It is a model we still follow in our 7-day weeks and our desire for weekends to give rest in our weekly cycle. We even follow a daily cycle of rest in which we sleep every night to give the body and mind time to be restored and to rest.
Rest and recreation are essential parts of our lives. Not only do they benefit us in body and mind but they also serve a greater purpose of pointing us back to our Maker and Creator. 2 Corinthians 5:17 reminds us “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.” When the world is getting us down and we are weary or even depressed with our lot in life, there is newness, there is rest, there is a promise of being re-created in Christ. He is our hope!
He gives us hope in that He is with us now giving us rest in our daily lives. He gives us hope in that we have forgiveness of sins in Jesus and His work on the cross. He also gives us hope in the promise of a new creation. An eventual re-creation of all things when, as Revelation 21:5 puts it, “I am making all things new.” The day will come when God will indeed re-create all. A day when all sadness and tears, all suffering and death will be gone forever. Hope in this because of Jesus Christ and remember this joyful promise in all your summer recreations, while it all still lasts!
To God be the glory.