One of the things I was looking forward to on our trip to Cape Breton was the chance to see whales and moose. Don't get me wrong, I have seen both many times; however, I never tire of seeing God's creatures.

It was with this in mind that we set out to hike the Skyline Trail in the Cape Breton Highlands National Park. Some 17 years earlier, on our last visit to the beautiful island, we had hiked this particular trail at dusk and had been blessed to see not one, but four moose, and one of them close up. Surely we would be so blessed again...But we were destined for disappointment.

Surely we wouldn't "strike out" quite so badly with the whales...And it was with this in mind that we boarded a small whale watching boat. We were again destined for disappointment, however, for nary a whale showed itself throughout the entire 2.5 hour trip...

What I failed to mention was what we saw instead...

On the skyline trail, a female Spruce Grouse paraded along the trail, eating grasshoppers and strutting her fine plumage for us to photograph to our hearts content.

On the boat, we were privileged to a rare sighting of an enormous Leatherback Sea Turtle. He was chowing down on a huge jelly fish at the water's surface when our boat came up to him, and he calmly finished his meal and then swam around the boat a few times before making a spectacular dive into the ocean depths. Even our pilot had only sighted such a turtle a few times in all his years on the water, and never one that big.

As I looked back on these two "disappointments", I realized that they weren't disappointments at all. If we had been blessed with moose, we would have likely never seen the Spruce Grouse, a bird I had never seen before. And if there had been whales, then we would never have been in the right waters to see the Leatherback Turtle.

It makes you think, doesn't it? Do we truly know what is best for us? We may think that a job will take care of all our problems, and when that job doesn't materialize, we are sure our lives are ruined. But what if that job we so coveted would only make us miserable in the end? And what if taking that job would tie us up so that we can't take the much better job that will come available in just a few short weeks? We think that getting over that viral infection is the thing we need the most. What we don't realize is that by having to stay home with a cold, we may have been saved from a terrible car accident.

I could go on listing examples, but the point is this: in our limited wisdom, we don't always know what we truly need. God, in His infinite wisdom and love, does know; and sometimes He allows the "bad" things so that He can give us what will truly make us happy!

Maybe we should spend more time thanking God, even for the trials that we go through..."We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they are good for us--they help us learn to be patient. And patience develops strength of character in us and helps us trust God more each time we use it until finally our hope and faith are strong and steady." (Rom. 5:3-4 NLT).

I don't know about you, but I think I preferred that Leatherback Turtle sighting to the sighting of a dozen whales. And maybe I should trust God to know what is best for me as well, instead of always insisting on things going MY way...

Will you join me in my attempt to: "...praise the Lord no matter what happens." And "...constantly speak of his glories and grace" (Ps. 34:1 NLT)?

In His love,
Lyn


Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author -- "Aboard God's Train -- A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer", Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.

(To access the entire "Lessons From Cape Breton" mini-series, please click here.)