Serendipity – Luck that takes the form of finding valuable or pleasant things that are not looked for.
Providence – The means by which God directs all things, both animate and inanimate, seen and unseen, good and evil — toward a worthy purpose, which means His will must finally prevail.
The lucky twists, the fortunate breaks, the way a series of seemingly random events can work in conjunction to produce an unexpected favorable outcome…do you call them serendipity? Or is it God’s Providence at work? The older I get, the less I believe in luck or randomness…and the more I believe in a loving God orchestrating a few twists, and engineering a few breaks, to provide and sustain his children. Even when bad things happen, God is there bringing out the good and maybe teaching us some things in the process.
I really wanted to attend worship services Sunday morning in Hiawassee, because I need that and know that opportunities to do so will be limited over the next 6 months. The church, though, was 10 miles out of town…hike-able, but hikers don’t really like hiking non-AT miles unless we have to. So I googled a number associated with the Hiawassee Church of Christ…and got the former minister who is no longer there. He gave me a possible contact of Robert Jarrard…there are a few of them. Left a message for the first one. The second one, Bobby, answered and said he doesn’t go there but his brother does. He also offered me a ride! On the way to services, we drove by his beautiful lakeside home and I commented on it. He said, “you should see inside,” and then he pulled in and gave me a tour of the place. A kind man…being used by God to give me a “good break.”
Really enjoyed worshipping with the good folks of H CoC. They average 12, but had 17 that morning due to several visitors. A faithful group, despite small numbers and their long-time preacher being out for some time with an apparent serious illness. They even extended the invitation for me to teach in their Sunday School class, so I taught on “spiritual applications from hiking the AT.”
Meanwhile, there was the issue of getting from church back to the trail…about a 20 mile journey. How would God come up with a “lucky twist?” Well, from out of nowhere I hear from Mark Crum, a high school (and Facebook) friend I haven’t seen in 32 years. He said his family would be in the area and would love to take me to lunch and then deliver me back to the Trail. Cha-Ching! He has an adorable and extremely kind wife and 2 children….such a sweet family. They took me to Brothers at Willow Ranch where I feasted on the Chicken Alfredo and salad. Then, before dropping me back on the trail, they gave me a bag of assorted Girl Scout cookies! Thank you, Team Crum!
I got on the trail at 2:20 and banged out 7.4 miles to Rich Cove Gap (elevation 3532 ft). The temperature was dropping quickly and my watches barometer was trending downward. As I pitched Big Agnes, the snow began to fall. Just after getting camp set up, eating, and crawling into my tent, the snow turned to freezing rain. Perfect timing, and luck had nothing to do with it.
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