It has been a rather rainy spring and summer in my neck of the woods and we finally had a string of sunny days. Eager to be out and about, I decided to give my husband the gift of a quiet house on Saturday so he could finish preparing his sermon in peace. He thanked me for my thoughtfulness and told me to have fun on my adventure.
After downloading an audio tour that would take me to some points of interest in Southern Minnesota and packing some cold drinks lest I grow thirsty along the way, I headed off. I had a great time enjoying the scenery, visiting some points of interest and even stopping by a few Amish farms to make some purchases.
Finally, I decided it was time to head for home. I drove to the small town from where I had begun my audio tour thinking I would get something to eat there before making the two and a half hour journey home. The town, though very small, is a popular tourist/camping destination during the summer months with the first couple of weekends in July being the busiest. It was not a good weekend to be in town. After failing to find a parking place, I decided to head for another town I would have to pass through on my way home. After setting my GPS, I confidently started off across the bridge and down road. That's when the trouble began.
The GPS directed me to make a right turn when I should have continued on straight.
I must admit that I hesitated for a moment before I made that turn. I did recognize that building over there but I had gone straight past it when I came... or had I? I did remember coming down the road from the northwest and making a turn but was it at this particular junction or another one? I decided to listen to my GPS, which generally does not let me down and make the turn.
For awhile, all seemed fine but then up ahead the paved road became a gravel road. I paused once again. Now I knew this wasn't right! The question was whether or not this was just temporary meaning I would quickly hit pavement again and be led to the right road or should I turn around and retrace my steps once again? My GPS urged me once again to continue, so I did.
I would travel miles before I came to a paved road once again. While these were called "county roads", the official "county roads" in my experience were paved. I had forgotten that until about 30 or 40 years ago the county roads around my current home were in fact still gravel roads. I know, I know. I was and probably always will be a "city-girl" even though the city I grew up in is almost eight times larger than the one I reside in now.
I eventually did get to my destination but the route I took was much more "scenic". A part of me would panic from time to time, fearing that I was hopelessly loss. Then I would remember that even though I didn't know exactly where I was, I had a full tank of gas, a cooler with some treats and a misbehaving cell phone that wasn't always getting good reception. That was why, unknown to me at the time, it was taking me on what seemed to be a wild goose chase. It was constantly resetting itself. Though there wasn't a house in sight, only thickly wooded hillsides that lined a curvy gravel road, I still had about five hours of daylight left. Since there had been no side-roads, if push came to shove, I could always retrace my steps... or send out an SOS!
I made the decision to try to enjoy my journey by turning it into an adventure. Yes, there was that nagging feeling in the pit of my stomach that I was going to be lost forever but then I would focus my attention on the journey instead. I had hoped for some nice scenery and this unintended route was certainly providing that. Instead of racing down a highway along with everyone else, I was slowly making my way on a quiet narrow road all by myself. When I stopped thinking about how this was not where I wanted to be and how would I get back to that place, I found myself gazing in awe at the wonder of this place far off the beaten path.
My road took me through a dense forest and around winding curves. At one point, because I had to travel much slower due to the road, I wondered if I would actually make it to the top of the bluff. I even said a prayer near the top. I made it.
I grew hopeful when I was told to turn onto another county road. Sigh... another gravel road but now I was joined by another car. That gave me a bit of hope. Someone else was traveling this road so perhaps I would not come to a dead-end.
At long last, I was told to turn once again and this time, the road was paved. I saw a sign for my destination and saw that I had come out about five miles north of where I wanted to be.
I zipped down the road, reached the town and then caught the right road home.
The journey home was not the route I had intended it to be but I saw sights I would have never seen on the other road. Alone and uncertain, I was in communication with God much more than I had been on the journey south. The "scenic route" was slower and more uncertain than the route I had planned. In some respects, it was also more dangerous but oh, looking back now I would not have missed it for the world!
Sometimes God will lead us down a road we never expected to be on. It can be a lonely and sometimes dangerous place. Sometimes it seems like it will never end and we may even decide there must be some mistake. This could not possibly be where God wants us to be. Trust Him. Just trust Him for some day, that journey, like all journeys will end and you will reach your final destination.