“Are we almost there yet?” Perhaps you’ve asked this question on a long road trip.
You aren’t the first to ask. One hot summer day in 1853 James White asked this same question. He was getting worried. James and Ellen White had asked a local driver to take them to the town of Vergennes in Michigan. They were riding in a horse-drawn buggy. There were no paved roads, and so the driver followed the double wheel tracks through the forest. They had started out early and should have been there by lunchtime. At first it was pleasant to ride in the cool shade of the forest. But slowly the sun moved, and soon it stood directly overhead, with still no sign of the town. The driver had grown very quiet. The Whites exchanged worried looks. “Are we almost there yet?” James asked. The driver muttered something about having missed the turn. “In other words, we’re lost?” he asked.
“Oh no, I’m sure our road must be right over there. I’ll just take a shortcut between these trees.”
With that the driver turned off the track they had been following, and soon they were bouncing along between logs and fallen trees. By now they were all hot, hungry, thirsty, and late for their appointment in Vergennes. And then they spotted some cows. Perhaps they could get a drink of milk. It would be warm, but definitely better than nothing. The driver took a tin cup and went over to the nearest cow. This cow must have been warned about not trusting strangers, because she ran off as soon as the driver got near. The poor driver spent some time chasing cows around, but he wasn’t able to get that drink. At least cows meant that a farmhouse must be nearby. A short while later they came to a small clearing with a log cabin.
The woman of the house was surprised and delighted to have visitors. She quickly made them a late lunch, and they finally got a drink of milk. The woman was able to give them directions, and soon they were back on their way. But before they left, they prayed with the woman and gave her some books they had with them. That evening Mrs. White wondered why they had to take that long detour that had made them so late for their appointments.
Twenty-two years later she was speaking at a camp meeting. After the meeting a woman excitedly came to Mrs. White and asked if she remembered getting lost in the woods all those years before. That was one road trip that Mrs. White hadn’t forgotten. The woman was the one who had made them lunch in the log cabin. She was so thankful for the book the White’s had given her. She said, “I read it over and over. I still have it. It’s about worn out now. I lent it to my neighbors and they read it too. And now we have quite a company of Sabbath keepers in our area.” The woman took a deep breath. She didn’t have to say more. Her face beamed. Mrs. White could see that she loved Jesus.
Mrs. White was thrilled too. At last she knew why they had to take that awful road trip through the forest. She understood that when we love Jesus He takes even the bad or unpleasant things that happen to us and makes something good out of it. We may have to wait to understand why. We may even have to wait 22 years!
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