In October my family took a trip to Moab, Utah, for my brother’s wedding. While planning the visit I discovered that Moab is the home of Arches National Park, which immediately went to the top of the list of things we must see while there.
Because our time in Utah was limited, I researched beforehand to find out when would be the best time of day to visit the park, as well as which areas were most highly recommended for a short trip. I also talked with a friend who had recently vacationed there, and when her personal insights lined up with what I’d read online, I set our plan in place.
We were so excited to visit Arches that it wasn’t hard to get up early on the morning of our outing. There had been a chance of rain in the forecast, so I was relieved when precipitation held off, though the sky was overcast.
Everything was going well as we drove into the park. The red rocks were stunningly gorgeous, and we couldn’t wait to see the formations for which the park is famous. As we drove to The Windows Section, our chosen destination, a problem soon became apparent. The Windows Section is at the park’s highest elevation, and as such, was still under cloud cover! The closer we drove, the less we could see. The entire landscape was swallowed up in cottony white.
It was disappointing, to say the least. I’d studied maps and knew that some of the landmarks should have been easily visible from the road, and I promised my family that I hadn’t made all this up and dragged them out of bed for nothing. The beauty was right there, though it was hidden from our view.
As I drove carefully through the world of white, the Lord began speaking to me. How easy it is to lose heart when we can’t see how He is working in our lives! Sometimes it’s not even a matter of wrong choices that can obscure our sight of Him. After all, our trip to the park had been made after careful consideration, consultation with the official website, and confirmation from those who had gone before. We were doing everything exactly as recommended, yet it was clouds, which can hardly be called bad things, which were limiting our vision.
In our lives, we try to form our plans with prayer, Bible reading, and wise counsel. We start the journey with excitement for what’s in store, but it does not always work out the way we anticipate. Even when we give it our best effort, things can seem lost, swallowed up in unexpected delays and circumstances beyond our control. Though our faith may be strong that what God is unfolding in our lives will be beautiful, when His work seems hidden we wonder if He’s really doing anything at all.
My family didn’t let the clouds stop us from enjoying the national park. We drove down to a lower elevation and did some hiking. It was lovely, and stirred our desire to try to see The Windows Section again. We got up early the next morning and made a second attempt, and were rewarded beyond anything we had imagined. The views were incredible, taking our breath away and leaving our hearts full of awe. I wonder if the natural magnificence seemed even greater because we’d had to persevere and make a more determined effort in order to see it.
If you are waiting for God to unveil what He is doing in your life, don’t let the clouds get you off track. Try to enjoy where you are and live faithfully, even if it isn’t your first choice. Press on. Keep the faith. Someday the clouds will clear and what He’s been doing will shine with brilliant glory. It will be worth the wait and struggle, and in fact made more beautiful because of it.
“Dost thou know the balancings of the clouds, the wondrous works of Him which is perfect in knowledge?” Job 37:16