The tourist bureau at Qualicum Beach warned us. In fact, their exact words went something like this: “The roads leading to Horne Lake Caves Provincial Park aren’t fit to be driven at any time; and especially not in this rain!”
We didn’t believe them, and we set out in search of the caves anyway. We soon learned however, as we were creeping forward at the grand speed of 5kms per hour, that their description was an understatement!
The description of the caves was enticing. According to tourist guides they were filled with crystal formations and fossils, and they were considered to be one of the best places to find this sort of thing in Canada. This is what made us persevere in the pouring rain down eleven kilometres of road that seemed to get rougher and muddier with each passing kilometre. The locals obviously didn’t care about their vehicles, for they zoomed by us, literally burying us in their showers of mud and pebbles. Cachou! My allergies are acting up!
At one point we came to a fork in the road. “Which way should we go?” asked my wife, who was driving. I shrugged and we all craned our necks, peering through the swishing windshield wipers for some kind of a road sign. There wasn’t one however, and since the road to the left, the one that our GPS indicated, seemed to be by far the most travelled, we were inclined to go this way. Then when a truck zoomed by us going that direction, we were sold. The “left” it would be!
Following that truck was completely useless, however. He was out of sight within the minute, leaving us asking ourselves for the umpteenth time how vehicles could drive so fast on such roads!
As we continued on, kilometre after kilometre, something seemed to be increasingly wrong; but when we couldn’t pinpoint just what it was, we persisted. An hour later we discovered a beautiful lake and some cottages, and two kilometres father, our GPS indicated that we had arrived.
We were more than glad. We were ecstatic! We were very tired of that road!
Only one problem: No caves!
We stopped the car and peered into the rain, sure that we were missing something somewhere.
We weren’t. It didn’t matter how hard we looked, the only things we found were shrubs, trees, the lake, a tall hill, and a road that was getting smaller by the minute.
“This can’t be right!” was my intelligent input, and after much pains-taking efforts, we managed to find a way to turn around on that tiny road.
An hour later we arrived, once again, at the fork in the road. We decided to try the right fork this time, and about a kilometre down that road we found the infamous sign: “Horne Lake Caves Provincial Park 7 kilometres.”
I glanced at my wife. She was biting her lower lip. Never a good sign! I could just imagine her thoughts: If we have to crawl down seven more kilometres of this road . . .
I looked over my shoulder into the back seat to see two sets of bugged eyes and two drooping chins. “Do you still want to go to Horne Lake Caves?” I asked.
I was pretty sure what their response would be, and I wasn’t disappointed: “Noooooooo!” said one, shaking his head madly. “No wayyyyyyyyyy!” echoed the other. They obviously couldn’t envision us traveling another hour on a road that was obviously even less well-kept than the one we had been on!
I can’t say that I was overly disappointed by their decision. I couldn’t help asking myself, though, how we could have possibly taken the wrong road when we were following trucks, cars, and the less than desirable GPS that came with our rented car…
But this isn’t so different from life. It is a commonplace thing for us to end up with similar disillusionments. Life seems so promising sometimes. How did what we thought would be a bright future end up at such an impasse? What happened? Didn’t we try to follow others, even surpassing them with our own endeavours? Didn’t we follow the provided directions explicitly? How is it that we ended up in a job with no future? How come we are sacked with so many addictions? And what about those relationships that seem to be headed for the rocks? How did the path of life we were following end up in a dead end? How did those habits end up overtaking us? How come indifference reigns supreme? Where did we go wrong?
God warned us about this: “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.” (Prov 14:12 NIV) Even though some habits may be quite educational, if they don’t make a meaningful difference in someone’s life, they are futile: “The LORD knows the thoughts of man; he knows that they are futile.” (Ps 94:11 NIV); and “For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.” (Rom 1:21 NIV)
There is only one way out of this mess, one way that leads to a real, purposeful life: “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.” (John 5:24 NIV) “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10 NIV)
Our fulfilling purpose cannot be found in immediate self gratification or in hobbies that are geared towards selfish ambitions. Our purpose can only be found in Him who is willing to make a difference in our life: “For everything, absolutely everything, above and below, visible and invisible, rank after rank after rank of angels – everything got started in him and finds its purpose in him.” (Col 1:16 The Message)
Are you tired of driving 5kms per hour on less than desirable roads? Are you fed up with a life filled with disillusionments, endless addictions and numerous broken relationships? Come to Jesus and find your true, fulfilling purpose in life. Not only will you be filled with inner peace and joy, you will also be set free from anything that hinders you from attaining true freedom. “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:36 NIV)
P. S. If you ever decide to visit Horne Lake Caves Provincial Park, make sure you have plenty of time! And don’t forget to take the road on the right. It will be far more fulfilling, believe me!