Yosemite National Park is beautiful. For four days this past summer our family enjoyed traipsing around waterfalls and cliffs. We witnessed breathtaking scenes, unexpected vistas, and awe-inspiring panoramic views. Honestly, it is one of the most gorgeous places I have visited in my lifetime.
Yet, it is not as if there is a painting worthy scene at every step. For most of the views you have to trudge through some pretty difficult terrain. In fact, the smaller hikes that were accessible on the valley floor were ok in our opinion. They were nice but not spectacular. The spots that cause you to scramble quickly and take a photo are the ones that you have to earn. One such hike was Glacier Point. It was the first day so we were still getting our bearings. We had just visited a marvelous scenic cliff called Taft Point (frightening if you do not like heights). On our way back from the hike, we came to a fork in the trail. We could go straight which would lead you back to the parking lot. From there you could take another trail to Glacier Point. Or, there was a “shortcut” if we took the left trail. It was not clearly marked on the map but it indicated it was a direct route to Glacier Point. Due to time constraints we chose the shortcut. It was a worn trail so it was pretty easy to follow. However, there were times where we were unsure as to whether we were on the right trail. At one point, we had to ask for directions. Eventually, we made it.
But, on the way, we saw the most amazing views. There were sections where we stopped every few steps to take photograph after photograph as the valley floor spread out below us. Since it was a “shortcut” the trail was not heavily trafficked. We would have completely missed out on these priceless scenes if we would not have ventured down a trail we never intended to take. At times, the most beautiful things in life are a result of the unexpected. And, it is the unexpected that sweetens those moments because it was not planned (and you had to work for it).
Life throws at us unexpected turns. We face hardships. There are financial difficulties. Relationship problems pop up. Health diagnoses rattle us. Job cutbacks scare us. We find ourselves walking down a path that we never intended to take. Yet, God is in the midst of each of these turns. He is present with us around each unexpected turn. We are never abandoned. We are never forsaken. And, it is in these moments that we experience God in the most amazing ways. We see aspects of His character that otherwise we would have missed. We find ourselves standing in awe of His presence and grace even though we are facing the unknown.
Yes, these moments are precious. In fact, more precious because we had to walk through the difficulties in order to see them.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11