(In the fall of 2017, my husband and I made an unforgettable trip to Cape Breton, a beautiful island at the northern tip of the Canadian eastern-seaboard province of Nova Scotia. This 3-week trip was inspirational in many ways, and some of the lessons we learned will be outlined in this series that will be appearing sporadically through the fall of this year, and the winter of next. For previously-published lessons from Cape Breton, please click here.)
On our way home from Cape Breton, we stopped for an unforgettable 2-day visit to the Franconia Notch State Park in New Hampshire, and while there, we were privileged to climb up to the beautiful Artists’ Bluff. The view was absolutely spectacular. This particular outcropping of rock is named for its popularity among artists who come there for inspiration. Quite naturally, the bluff provides a breathtaking view of Cannon Mountain, Mount Lafayette and the Franconia Notch, all with the beautiful Echo Lake in the foreground.
The bluff also offers a wonderful view of state park’s only RV Park, a 7-site camping spot at Echo Lake for self-contained units. The way the 7 trailers were lined up below us made it seem as if the RVs were surrounded by a ring of beautiful trees, all decked out in the gorgeous reds, oranges and yellows of autumn. Yes, it definitely looked like a wonderful place to camp…
I had to laugh as I looked at that RV park below us. You see, the tiniest trailer in the bunch was ours, and no matter how romantic the park looked from Artists’ Bluff, I knew the truth: Those seven sites were not rimmed by trees at all. Rather, they were unceremoniously lined up along the edge of the large public parking lot that served Echo Lake Beach! You couldn’t see the lake at all from the camp, and even the view from the top of the hill behind the RVs looked out over–the service garages for the Franconia Notch State Park!
I also knew something else about that park…There are no camp bathrooms or showers! Of course, the park is advertised as being for self-contained RVs only, but since we don’t own a self-contained unit, we didn’t fully appreciate what that meant. Fortunately for us, there were also no lights in the RV park, and once the sun went down, it was dark enough to feel comfortable finding a tree or a bush to substitute for the lack of camp bathrooms…
This teaches us an important lesson, one we would do well to remember in the upcoming New Year: Things in life are not always as they seem. You see, it didn’t matter how romantic and appealing the RV park appeared from Artist’s Bluff, it was not the ideal camping spot for our little 12-foot trailer that doesn’t come equipped with a bathroom. In the same way, that “ideal” job could turn out to have the worst boss ever; the “chance of a lifetime” vacation could result in you getting sick from contaminated food; the “dream” car could turn out to be a lemon; or worse. Remember,“There is a way which seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.” (Prov. 16:25; Prov. 14:12 ESV)
In the same way, sometimes the things that don’t appear so ideal in life actually turn out to be perfect. When the “dream” car is too expensive and we are forced to buy a used one in its stead, it could be that God is saving us from the “lemon”. When we don’t get the “dream” job, and this results in many more weeks of unemployment, it might very well mean that we actually get a much better job in the end, and we are saved the heart ache of having to deal with that less-than-desirable boss.
The point is, when circumstances in the upcoming year dictate that we take what appears to be the “less desirable” path, let’s stop worrying. Instead, let’s praise God that our “campground” has a bathroom and shower! Let’s praise Him for saving us from even less desirable outcomes!
Sometimes it is our choice whether to take the more appealing path through life or whether to take the harder-looking road. When this is the case, let’s not forget that God is always there to give us the wisdom we need to make the right–albeit perhaps not the most appealing–decision: “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.”(James 1:5 ESV).
Don’t just jump to what appears to be the most desirable choice. Instead, think about that view from Artists’ Bluff and remember that things aren’t always as nice as they seem. Ask God for His guidance. He will give it to you, for He loves you incredibly!
Oh, and as the New Year and its upcoming difficulties roll around, don’t despair when things don’t appear to be a “rosy” as you had anticipated. Perhaps God is saving you from a “bathroom/shower-less” campground because He knows you don’t have a “bathroom” onboard!
In His love,
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, andScriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, withAnswers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.
(To access the entire “Lessons From Cape Breton” mini-series, please click here.)