The day was just not destined to be a perfect one.
When we made the reservations in April for a Pacific Hot Springs Boat Adventure, we never expected that we would have the torrential rains that greeted us all over Vancouver Island.
To make it worse, we had been unable to obtain a hotel room in Tofino where our adventure would commence, and we had been forced to stay in Nanaimo. The distance between the two cities looked pretty insignificant on the map. Were we ever in for a surprise!
The final straw however, was the “encouragement” given to us by the people at the visitor’s information centre: “You have reservations for a boat tour at 10:00 a.m. tomorrow morning in Tofino and you are lodging in Nanaimo???”
“Euh,.. yes,” I stumbled, disheartened by her tone. “Is that a problem?”
“You will have to get up pretty early to get there on time!”
“How early?” I asked.
“It’s a 210 kilometres trek (130 miles),” she answered.
That didn’t seem that far to me. Two hours perhaps, but we would no doubt allow two hours and a half. That would mean leaving Nanaimo around 7:30, just to play it safe. What was the problem?
But the “heartening” agent wasn’t finished: “The roads aren’t exactly-uh-ideal-if you get my drift!”
“Euh…” I stammered. “I am not sure what kind of a ‘drift’ you mean!”
A stern look motivated me to zip my mouth shut!
“The road is narrow. It twists and turns, zigzagging like a drunkard through the mountains. You will need a good three hours to get there. More if it rains!”
I glanced outside. Since it had been raining steadily ever since our arrival on the island, things weren’t looking too hopeful . . .
“I would suggest you leave no later than 6:30 a.m.”
As we left that “enlightening” visitor’s information bureau, I couldn’t stop my thoughts from pouring forth into words: “6:30 a.m. on a holiday!!!!”
We did follow the advice of the helpful lady however, and as we sat on the side of that road that, did, indeed, “zigzag like a drunkard through the mountains”, waiting for relief to settle into the upside-down stomachs of two of our passengers, I was glad we did. Let’s just say that it was a good thing there was a pull-out right where we needed one!
I’m afraid that the boat trip wasn’t much better on our stomachs. The torrential rain and their accompanying heavy winds must have thought we hadn’t endured enough motion sickness for the day, and as we were tossed to the left and to the right, some of us were eager to leave our breakfasts behind in the ocean.
“Boy!” you say, “you guys must be crazy to undertake such a foolish trip! Was it worth it?”
Amazingly, it was! We very much enjoyed exploring the rich ocean waters of Clayoquot Sound with its abundant wildlife. We saw orcas, humpbacks, seals, sea lions, otters, puffins, murrelets, cormorants, and auklets. Then we came to Hot Springs Cove, a provincial park only accessible by boat or hydroplane, where a thirty minute hike along a boardwalk through a breathtaking rainforest left us wishing it had been a sixty minute walk. When we reached the natural hot springs however, we were met with the very best part of the day. We couldn’t resist the steaming hot water, and we quickly donned our swimming suits to soak in the natural hot tubs that the water had formed in the rock. But what was even more special was the opportunity to take a natural hot shower under the hot waterfall! Despite the incessant rain, it was with regret that we made our way back to the boat a couple of hours later.
“Welcome aboard!” called out the captain. “I have some bad news. The weather has taken a turn for the worse! Our ride back to Tofino will be a wild one!”
Our stomachs all turned as one . . .
Life in general is not a smooth ride. All of us have our fair share of adversity and tribulations. But what about Christians? Aren’t they exempt from such unpleasant experiences?
Let’s see what Jesus has to say about that: “Remember the words I spoke to you: ‘No servant is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also.” (John 15:20 NIV)
What a relief . . . It seems our ride home “will be a wild one” too . . .
But shouldn’t God spare us the pain?
This same question was uttered by Baruch, Jeremiah’s scribe: “These are the words of GOD, the God of Israel, to you, Baruch. You say, ‘These are bad times for me! It’s one thing after another. GOD is piling on the pain. I’m worn out and there’s no end in sight.'” (Jer 45: 2-3 The Message)
However God has bigger plans than any of us can fathom! His only promise to His servant is that he won’t be crushed and he will survive to serve Him: “But GOD says, ‘Look around. What I’ve built I’m about to wreck, and what I’ve planted I’m about to rip up. And I’m doing it everywhere – all over the whole earth! So forget about making any big plans for yourself. Things are going to get worse before they get better. But don’t worry. I’ll keep you alive through the whole business.'” (Jer 45: 4-5 The Message)
Who are we, anyway, to question the Almighty Creator? He knows what is best for us, and personally, I have found out that I learn more about depending upon my loving God when I am in the middle of tribulations! Adversity goes hand in hand with spiritual growth spurts!
God made a promise though to all of His children: “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matt 28:20 NIV). I can personally vouch for this. Never have I been closer to God than in times where I feel completely helpless and at the mercy of turbulent circumstances.
Although in the middle of them, we have a place to go where we can find rest: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matt 11:28 NIV). Not only will He give us rest, but He will also give us the necessary strength to face what seems the impossible: “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” (Phil 4:13 NIV)
When your stomach turns upside down because of the roller coaster called life, remember you are not alone in this. God loves you and will help you to reach home in one piece.
Is it worth it?
You will know when you reach home! “I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.” (Eph 1:17-19 NIV)
P. S. If you love roller coasters, I know of one that’s wilder than any you have experienced. Join me on a trek from Nanaimo to Hot Springs Cove when the weather is turbulent! You may lose your breakfast, but you won’t regret the trip!