Mouldy Old Dough: The Heart of the Matter, Part 14 (Our Response)

forestSnakeView from above

"He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way." (Ps 25:9 NIV)

"Make your dad's birthday memorable!"

This is what my wife told our sons as we left for Nova Scotia. She wouldn't be joining us for another week, and during our "solo" time, my kids would be celebrating the day I first appeared on this planet.

This is why I found myself on my birthday on a path leading to… Uh, well actually, I wasn't exactly sure just where it was leading! My sons had noticed a sign in Chester, Massachusetts that said, "Trail", and just like giant magnets, they were attracted to it. The next thing I knew we were in the woods on a steep incline, with warning signs greeting us: "Danger: Slippery when wet".

Although it had poured two hours before, my sons shrugged their shoulders and went on. Maybe they didn't know the significance of the words on the warning sign! But then I had to remind myself that they were teenagers and as young people, they love the word "danger"!

I looked up to the mountain and wondered how we would ever get back down in one piece as the word "slippery' was really an understatement. I sure would have preferred to remain on safer grounds, like in my tent trailer for example. My sons knew what they were doing though, or at least I hoped so, and for some strange reason, my over-the-half-century-mark bones decided to follow them.

The climb became more and more challenging. In fact, it could have classified as an underrated obstacle course. Numerous limbs of fallen trees, some elephant-sized, had to be climbed over, and the huge stones that we had to cross near precipices were covered with dripping, slippery moss. At first I was reluctant to dirty my hands so I didn't reach out to the mouldy old trees crawling with insects for support. But after a while I was thankful they were available (The trees, not the mould or the insects!).

I was also thankful for my boys. While my youngest son carried my camera as he led the way, my oldest very patiently tried to help me out. Although I couldn't help wondering how on earth I would ever remain in one piece, I felt privileged to have been invited on one of the special hikes my sons truly enjoy. I still wonder how they have survived this far!

We had no idea where that path would lead us, but eventually we reached a small clearing, high on top of the mountain, with a gorgeous view of our campground. But perhaps the best part was that we all eventually arrived safely back at our tent trailer!

It's then that I realized that had I relied on my own strength, I would still be stuck somewhere in those woods, probably in more pieces that I would like to count. But because I relied on all the available help, because I followed the experts, I arrived safely. In all humility I was led to the height of this mountain, an endeavour I never would have been able to accomplish on my own. But the view was more than worth the climb. Wow!

My birthday was, indeed, special, thanks to my kids, and I took to heart what David wrote more than 3000 years ago: "He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way." (Ps 25:9 NIV)

At times life may lead us on paths we really don't want to climb, but had we done things our own way, we would have missed opportunities to experience intimate moments with our loving Heavenly Father. Too often we are satisfied with the view from the ground level, but just like any loving Father (Or dedicated sons!), our God wants us to experience a view from above.

Another lesson I learned is one from the apostle Paul "From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work." (Eph 4:16 NIV)

We were created to love and this is only possible if we help one another out. Too often we tend to be self-sufficient and we miss the occasion of experiencing the love we are yearning for. God didn't create others so that we could be alone in solitude. He wanted us to experience love, and even though we have experienced utter rejection more often than not, God's way is for us to strive towards a love beyond what humans are capable of, a love displayed by a humble carpenter 2000 years ago.

How can we stand aloof when we realize that our God truly loves us? His love invigorates us, His love empowers us, His love motivates us to depend solely on Him in all humility and to reach out to others the way He did for us.

I sure had a memorable birthday, and I now welcome mouldy old trees. The view from above is really worth our trek!

Rob Chaffart

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