Viva Las Vegas?

Friday, March 28, 2008
Listen to this devotional:

2 Thessalonians 3:16 – May the Lord of peace himself give you his peace no matter what happens. The Lord be with you all. (TLB)

Genesis 9:13 – I have placed my rainbow in the clouds as a sign of my promise until the end of time, to you and to all the earth. (TLB)

As I'd not ever been to Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, we planned a stopover on our way back from Albuquerque, New Mexico. I'm sure we are a casino owner's nightmare, as we don't gamble, don't play the machines, and enjoy a glass of wine only now and then. That said, as my husband had been there once ten years prior, he was interested to see what had changed, and I thought it useful to see it at least once to form my own opinion.

This is not intended as a judgement on those who choose it as a destination point, for it is not my place to do so. My reflection is merely my perspective; it is not somewhere I would go again.

For me, for us, the opulence, the obvious excessiveness, and the apparent competitiveness of each hotel to outdo the next in extravagance are obscene. We walked a lot, looking in the lobbies of many of the hotels, and then we went further along to the older, original part of the strip. Those hotels that are still standing are sadly dwarfed and outshone — outblazoned, actually — by the newer ones. Others are now only holes in the ground to make way for bigger, though not necessarily better ones.

Walking by day, one fights the gamut of people flogging tickets, tours, and time shares. The crowd is replaced at night by streams of mostly men, perhaps immigrants, flicking cards at those who pass, showing pictures of nearly naked women ready for work. How sad to think that those are the only jobs any of them believe they could have.

It was sad, too, to see so many kids, who might much rather be outside in a playground, being wheeled and trekked about the different hotels, where the only time one gets away from loud music and bright lights is in the sanctity of one's hotel room. Music is even piped outside through loudspeakers in lamp posts and railings on the bridges.

It is an experience, to be sure. Yet amidst it all, it is comforting to know that there are at least Bibles in the hotel rooms. Best of all, though, was what happened when we were walking back to our hotel. It had begun to rain, and upon approaching the hotel, as we were walking under a canopy with huge plants on either side, I heard a gentleman ahead of us say something about a rainbow as he pointed to the right — and there, peeking through a space in the vegetation, was part of a beautiful rainbow.

Our visit, though an assault on our senses, was not without its peace, for it served to remind me of the beauty and peace with which I am blessed at home. And the rainbow? Well, that was most definitely a sign of His assurance that it is through Him we find that peace — no matter what happens.

Prayer: Dear Lord, we thank You for the paths we take and the signs of Your assurance sent to us along the way. For in each journey there is a lesson, and in each lesson, when we truly listen with our eyes and ears, we have proof that You are with us. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.

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Mary Daniel <>
Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada

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