To Cross a Suspension Bridge or a Desert: What would YOU choose?

Opinions. Everybody has one, but seldom does it agree with everyone else's!

For example, if you had the choice between crossing a suspension bridge or crossing a desert, most of you would probably opt for the bridge. Not me. I would definitely vote for exploring the desert!

Now this has nothing to do with my anti-social attitude, though I admit I do go through these attitudes once in awhile. (Doesn't everyone??) Neither would I choose the desert to stand out in a crowd. In fact, I actually prefer to be inconspicuous - to blend in! My problem is that in my twilight years I have inherited a terrible fear of heights, and the recent collapse of the bridge in Minnesota hasn't made it any better!

Just after we said goodbye to Alaska and crossed back into Canada, my family and I were confronted with the possibility of doing both: crossing a suspension bridge or crossing a dessert. I, for one, voted for the desert. Unfortunately it was three to one in favor of the bridge . . . I wonder where I lost my support?

The Yukon Suspension Bridge, which in all honesty is in Northern British Columbia, permits daredevils like my wife and my two sons to cross the Tutshi River (either named after the nearby town, or vice-versa). Though I may be afraid of heights, I am a good sport, and not wanting to disappoint my family, we pulled into the attraction and paid the exaggerated entrance fee. Then I made the supreme sacrifice: I courageously stepped onto the bridge and crossed! No problem! In fact, I made it all the way to where the bridge no longer was suspended over land! Then I quickly retreated to safe ground, hoping the troops wouldn't notice! There! That was over! I had done MY part!

Right after the exhilarating experience of hide-and-seek so that my sons wouldn't realize I hadn't crossed the bridge completely, we headed for the Carcross desert, named after the nearby town of Carcross, Yukon, naturally.

Wait a minute! How is it possible for a desert to be so far up North?

To tell you the truth, it isn't really all that big, and it really isn't a desert. In fact, it is "affectionately" known as the smallest desert in the world (Yukonians much like their desert!). Apparently the area was once covered by a glacial lake (Brrrrr!); but as the glaciers retreated from the area, the water levels withdrew, leaving behind nothing but the sandy lake bottom. Over the years, the strong prevailing winds of nearby Lake Bennett have persistently worked this sand, making it impossible for vegetation to grow except for the Lodgepole Pine (Yukonians "affectionately" named that one as well!) and the Kinnikinnick (I am unsure if this is a swear word or a tree).

As we pulled into the parking lot beside the "desert", I was delighted to see that you didn't have to pay to enter. I was the first one out of the car. "Come on!" I called, heading for the entrance.

My wife wasn't so quick to leave the car. "I think I'll take a nap," she said with a yawn. "I hate walking in sand!"

"Come on!" I urged, not to be outdone. "I went on the suspension bridge. You can manage a little sand in your shoes!"

The teens in the back seat were making similar noises, but before it was all said and done, all four of us were gladly crossing that sand. Okay, maybe I was the only one who was "glad", but by this time, the car was locked and I had the keys.

I was amazed that only a few other people were enjoying a lovely walk through the sand. Didn't they all know what a treat they were missing out on? I was determined to not let it bother me however, and after three long ... Okay, five long minutes, we finally reached the other side.

It was actually hot on the "desert". I found this unusual, since we were above the 60th parallel! Shouldn't it be freezing cold? But then again, we were in an "affectionate" desert! There were also sand dunes everywhere, and it wasn't long before my oldest son decided to turn into some kind of sand monster and study a species of native desert insect more closely. Literally. We found him face down in the sand! Teens!

Of these two experiences, I have to "affectionately" say that the desert was definitely the more positive of the two. True, I'm the only one in the family who thinks that way, but aren't the best things in life always free?

Everyone has the right for his own opinion; however remember that the opinion of the majority isn't always truth. Pilate faced that same dilemma. A majority of zealous religious fanatics had the ardent opinion that Jesus should be crucified. Pilate didn't share that opinion and he ended up asking himself: "What is truth?" (John 18:38 NIV) But he caved in under pressure, and an innocent was crucified.

God works in mysterious ways however, and He can always turn unjust situations to His glory. An injustice had been committed, but it led to the salvation of those who believe: "You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him!" (Rom 5:6-9 NIV)

Sadly, the majority still doesn't believe in what Jesus did for them, and they continue to live as if Jesus doesn't exist. It is important that we learn to examine our opinions carefully to discover if they are based on truth or on fiction. Some opinions, like whether to cross a desert or a suspension bridge, are rather personal; others though can determine our destiny: "Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the LORD." (Lam 3:40 NIV)

Would you like to join me in my trek across a desert? It will be funů at least it will be for me!

Rob Chaffart

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