The church is in a poorer area. The streets are very narrow and not always well taken care of. The flowers and trees are gorgeous and the people seem to take care of what is given them. ...but it's a normal life to not have air-conditioning and to live with less.
We spent over a week ministering, laughing, and enjoying the Bahamian people. On the last day, a few of the people expressed an interest in seeing the Atlantis Hotel that you always see advertised on TV. So we decided to go tour it.
We went over a large bridge to get to it and almost immediately saw a difference. The streets were much wider and everything was well kept up. The grass was perfectly green and cut in a professional way. The buildings were painted and everything had a touch of elegance to it. When we walked through the shopping area, you could see a fake portrayal of perfection.
As we walked down the boardwalk to the hotel we saw yachts lined up next to each other, many of them worth over 100 million dollars. I noticed a few people sitting on their decks; they were busy on their electronics.
As I continued to watch people, I didn't see a lot of joy or peace. When we arrived at the hotel, we had to walk through the casino to see other parts of it and many in our group expressed a feeling of darkness while walking through.
As we toured Atlantis, all I could think about was what Solomon wrote...
"Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity." The people looked empty; there wasn't real joy in their faces. They all looked like they were trying to keep up with each other.
Ahhh... it hit me. #5. Life isn't always what it looks like. It may look like perfection, with extravagance, brand-name everything and people waiting on you, but it's empty.
You may think that the grass is greener on the other side but usually that's because there is a septic tank right under your neighbor's lawn.
That resort was trying to sell a perfect "Bahamas experience"; however it wasn't even the real Bahamas. It was faux perfection.
Interestingly enough, when we came out of the hotel we walked right past those yachts where some of the same people were sitting in the same spot, not interacting with each other but playing on their electronics. They looked bored and unhappy.
Yet I saw more people laughing and giggling and having a blast at our youth rally on the "poor" side of town.
After living there for a week, it wasn't hard to sniff out the falseness.
However, I wonder if I would have seen it if I had gone directly to Atlantis. The world will try to sell it to you.
- Come; gamble; you will be the one to win.
- If you look like us, you will be happy.
- Have a party. Get drunk on the beach; that will make you happy.
- If you spend $$$ on ______, you will be happy.
But, my dear friend, joy comes from the Lord and from salvation. We had a hard week but a full week. We had joy, real joy. The joy that comes from your salvation and seeing the souls of others coming to salvation. I would not have wanted to be on the other side. I was blessed to be on the Fox Hill side of town. - Rejoicing in the Present