We were going on vacation. I was only ten years old but I can remember the days of preparation and packing that Mother did. We were headed to the high mountains in West Virginia. It would be a long and winding five hour trip. We were going to rough it and stay in a “cabin” that one of my Dad’s friends was loaning us. We would bathe in the river (we could use Ivory soap so that it would float so we wouldn’t lose it). There was no heat or electricity in this place so oil lanterns and a wood stove would have to do. I couldn’t wait! It sounded like such an adventure to me. Dad said maybe one night we could sleep on pine needles that we would gather and we would name the stars.
Finally the day of departure arrived. Daddy worked long, twelve hour days but he got us all up bright and early and we took off in a car packed full of supplies and four sisters. Now, here is the clincher. We had been on the road a couple hours with me already asking “how much further is it?” and all the sisters complaining about being crowded and could my parents take me up front with them? Dad even offered me a nickel if I could be quiet for fifteen minutes (this may have scarred me for life!) and I complied to prove I could.
Suddenly Mom broke the silence, “Mark, I just realized that when I shut the electricity off for the house to save some money that the chest freezer went off too. Every thing will thaw out and have to be thrown out in a week’s time!”
And here is the wisdom: as Daddy turned the car around he patted my Mom’s shoulder and gave it a squeeze. “God works in mysterious ways. Perhaps this was His way of slowing us down to protect us from harm. We will just trust in that and be grateful.” And so a five hour trip ended up taking about nine hours but we arrived safely. It was one of our best vacations and also one that we teased Mom about forever.
I have thought of that day many times through the years, as I took a wrong turn, forgot something and had to backtrack, etc. It was a good lesson to learn young, a unique way perhaps, to look at God’s love and timely intervention.