As we returned to our bed and breakfast after our thorough “washing” at Hadrian’s Wall, we had yet another reason to worry about the incessant moisture that fell from the sky. Months earlier, when planning this trip, we had purchased tickets for the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo the following evening. This annual series of military marches and performances performed by British Armed Forces, Commonwealth and international military bands is held at Edinburgh Castle, and it is purported as a “must-see”. We had been told when we purchased the tickets that they were non-refundable, and that the show would go on, rain or shine. After having spent a few days in Scotland, we now understood this last part. If the show would only go on when it was sunny, it would never happen!
Back in Edinburgh, we checked the weather report for the following day, and of course, it called for torrential rain right about the time of our show. Did we really want to sit in open-air bleachers for two hours in the pouring rain? Especially since our rain gear had already proven to be so inadequate?
We decided to go to a local superstore to purchase umbrellas and cushions so we wouldn’t have to sit on wet bleachers. Those same umbrellas served us very well the following morning when we were rained off of Arthur’s seat and when the rain followed us into downtown Edinburgh. We returned to our bed and breakfast early that afternoon. We wanted to dry out properly before once again placing ourselves at the mercy of the weather. And we were glad we did, for the heavens opened and dumped some more. When it was finally time to leave for the show, however, we were in for a pleasant surprise: The sun peaked out from behind the clouds, it followed us all the way to Edinburgh Castle and remained with us for the entire show. We didn’t even have to open those umbrellas at all, and although the cushions made our seats more comfortable, they were completely unnecessary for keeping us dry!
We were indeed thankful for this last little “hurrah”, for we were leaving Scotland the next day. We couldn’t help wondering, however, just why this particular trip, already so laden with problems, had to be so rainy. Hadn’t we had enough problems even getting to Scotland? Hadn’t there been enough disappointments with missing the entire eastern portion of our trip? Hadn’t the lost suitcases been enough of a hassle? Did it have to rain on all of the good times we had left? Just what was the purpose for this trip, anyway? Hadn’t we prayed before planning the trip and asked God if this was what we should do with our extra days of vacation? Hadn’t He given us His blessing? Hadn’t He known about the thunderstorm in advance? Hadn’t He known we would be rain-washed for our entire time in Scotland? Why, then, had it all turned out so… bad?
The first night in our Edinburgh bed and breakfast, the answer to this became apparent. Our host was a kind young man from a Muslim background. We quickly became friends, and for years after this trip, we continued to keep in touch. In fact, he and his family continue to be in our daily prayers. Was this the reason for the trip in the first place? Is this why God hadn’t forewarned us that the trip would be full of problems? Because He wanted us to meet up with this young man at the bed and breakfast? Because He wanted us to pray for him and his family?
I don’t know the answers to those questions. All I know is that God works everything for His good. And if for some reason our brief visit to this particular bed and breakfast in Edinburgh that rainy August so many years ago might have in some way led to the salvation of this young man and his family, then every problem we encountered was worth it!
The world’s wisest man put it this way: “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens…I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” (Eccl. 3:1,11 NIV)
Let’s not let the problems get in our way. Let’s not get angry at God for not protecting us from them. The Bible teaches there is a time for everything, and that in the end, God makes it all beautiful, even if we can’t understand it all. In the midst of those problems, let’s consider that we don’t know what God is up to, and maybe, just maybe, that particular set of problems that we are facing may lead someone to Salvation. Doesn’t that make it all worthwhile?
In His love,
(To access the entire “Scotland!” devotional series, please click here.)