By: Diane Adams
Connect Group, leader
It was going to be the perfect weekend. We had booked our campsite at the state park on top of a mountain several months in advance. I had been busy making lists, planning our meals for the trip, catching up on the housework, and making sure everyone packed what they needed. My husband and I envisioned one of those mountaintop retreats where our family relaxed, hiked trails, and spent time with God. We wanted to recharge and spend time digging into the Scriptures. And what better time to do all of that than Easter weekend, right?
Friday started out so promising. The day was beautiful. The sun was shining and the temperature was warm. The camper and SUV were loaded, and just before we pulled out of the driveway, I realized that none of the lights on our camper were working. No brake lights, no turn signals, no nothing. A possible faulty wiring harness. So what should we do? Change cars? Troubleshoot and try to fix the wiring harness? Or, in the back of my mind, should we just cancel? That was the very last thing I wanted. How could we cancel our special trip that was supposed to renew us and bring us closer to God? Choosing to troubleshoot, we patched things enough to get underway and arrived at the park several hours later.
But things just didn’t seem right. The wiring harness was going to need work and it was weighing on us. The excitement we felt about the trip had lessened. My optimism had failed me. And as we pulled onto the state park grounds, the colors just didn’t seem as beautiful. The place didn’t seem as special as it had on our last visit. We let the challenges we faced and our worries discourage us. Recognizing this new mindset, I began to talk with the Lord. If my plan for our weekend wasn’t His plan, then I wanted to find out what His plan was. I asked God to change my heart, take my disappointment and frustrations and show me the good things. If the weekend wasn’t going as I planned, I was sure that what God had planned was better. I just had to have faith even when I couldn’t see what God’s plan was.
And so Easter Sunday came and it was time to pack up and go home. The repair job to the wiring harness was complete, and we felt confident that things were looking up. The trip home was going to go so well. Until it didn’t. We reached the bottom of the mountain and discovered the brakes had locked up on the camper and the friction was burning them up. The repair had actually made things worse!
And from that moment on, the entire trip home was a huge exercise of faith. Our two-hour trip took about four hours. And every mile was bathed in prayer. And then we realized that we were having one of those “bring you closer to God” trips after all. It just wasn’t how we envisioned it. We relied on God to get us home safely, and He did. We breathed huge sighs of relief as we pulled in the drive, shaking our heads and smiling. Our trip was nothing like we expected. I’m not sure any of us felt refreshed, but we recognized God’s blessings.
Soon after our trip I was reading James 1:2–4 (HCSB*), “Consider it a great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. But endurance must do its complete work, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing.”
I had my answer. God had been working through the trials, developing our faith and helping us to endure and grow in unexpected ways. As I reflected on how God had been at work during our weekend, I finally began to feel refreshed, then renewed and energized! God’s plan and His timing is always so much better than my own!
*Holman Christian Standard Bible. Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers, Nashville, Tennessee.