Hiking in Flip-flops

My husband and I did a little camping adventure through the southwest last summer. One of my favorite stops was the beach campground right next to Lake Powell. The area around behind our camper was a steep, dirt ravine. We had just finished our after-dinner walk to the beach when we spotted a fox in that somewhat rough terrain. Rather than change into tennis shoes or hiking boots to follow this beautiful creature, we ran after it in our beach footwear, aka. flip-flops.

After a few ups and downs and back up again, through brush and poky grass, over rocks and into the sand, we found ourselves on a secluded part of the lake, just in time to see the fox disappear right along with the magnificent orange and red sunset. What an unexpected gift! 

Right now, I think we are all in a space where we feel a bit unprepared for the current circumstances. From our leaders all the way down to our children. No human has any real idea about what lies ahead. Is it safe to go to a friend’s house for lunch? When will our kids go back to school? Can we plan a trip to see the grandparents?  Scientists can give us numbers. School Boards can give us plans. Politicians can give us...fill in your word here. 

But what none of them can give us is the sunset.

Only God creates that kind of beauty.

Only God can create stronger family bonds within a forced quarantine.

Only God can form new relationships with our next-door neighbors.

Only God can move the most selfish of hearts to give generously in times of fear.

These are the unexpected gifts we never saw coming. 

As I get older, I am learning more and more that I am completely unprepared for life. I’ve always tried to plan ahead so that at least I have some semblance of control. The right shoes, right clothes, money in the bank account, retirement plan, life insurance, health insurance will all help me to be ready. While I know these might be good practices, they will never completely equip me for all that lies ahead. At some point, I have to go with whatever shoes I have on my feet. I have to trust that God has properly equipped me for the journey ahead so that I won’t miss His glory. 

What unexpected gifts showed up when you were least prepared? 


JL McCarthy

May 13, 2020