The campsite could not have been laid out any better. A long back-in approach left us plenty of room to unpack boxes, coolers, and suitcases, and still have room to stack firewood and set up tents on a perfect length tent site, something not always easy to find for a 16 x 10 tent. The table fit nicely inside the screen and the fire ring is far enough from both the tents to avoid sparks.
The park itself is beautiful, lakes, valleys, mountain tops to hike—no hike longer than three to four hours, some appreciably shorter. The bathhouses are clean with plenty of hot water and strong sprays from large showerheads. The campsites afford as much or as little privacy as one wants—take your pick. It is quiet and peaceful, yet only ten minutes from grocery, gas, and pharmacy.
We’ve been here six days now—perfect park, perfect campsite, perfect weather. We haven’t even had our customary day of rain, nor even an overcast morning. So this is not the trip to test our mettle as campers. It’s all been way too perfect. But you know what? We won’t have many stories to tell from this trip. Oh wait! Our forty year old electric blanket did give out on us the first—the coldest—night. And don’t you see? That’s the story we’ll be telling—and that’s when we found out we were seasoned campers. We shrugged our shoulders and snuggled a little closer together in the double sleeping bag.
Peter tells us that God will test our mettle as His servants. Wherein you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been put to grief in manifold trials, that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold that perishes though it is proved by fire, may be found unto praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ, 1 Pet 1:6-7.
Too often, instead of passing the test, we use it as an excuse. We say, “I know I didn’t do well, but after all, I was dealing with such difficult circumstances.” Instead of growing and getting better and stronger, we blow up as usual and then apologize yet again. If we were really improving, the apologies would become less frequent, and one day, perhaps, unnecessary. That’s what God expects of us.
He doesn’t look down and say, “Well, I know they can handle this trial.” Why should He bother sending it? Instead, the test comes and after we pass He looks down, as He did on Mt Moriah and says, “Now I know.”
And it’s those tests that give us the experience to help others and the strength to endure more. God never promised us perfect lives here on this sin-cursed world. He did not promise you fame and fortune (no matter what Joel Osteen says). He did not promise perfect health, perfect families, or even perfect brethren. What He did promise is a perfect reward after we successfully navigate what amounts to, in the perspective of Eternity, a moment or two of imperfection.
But only if you have the mettle.
When they had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch, strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God, Acts 14:21-22.