In my last post I mentioned a trip that I took with a close friend. Half way through last year, we set off on what would be my very first overseas trip. While many Australians wouldn’t consider New Zealand to be an ‘overseas holiday’, I couldn’t wait to explore the new scenery, meet new people and spend some quality girl time with my lovely friend.
I’m a big believer that God has a plan for our lives – one that has each little path mapped out, ready for us to explore and stumble over as we strive to reach the beautiful end goal of eternity. When we got to New Zealand I had an overwhelming sense that this was a part of His plan, and that this journey would be more than a physical one, but one of discovering God in a new way. Above all else, this was a journey of trust.
After driving through the countryside for a few hours in our tiny blue rental car (affectionately named Eddie) we arrived in a small town called Coromandel. We found the place we were to stay in, and introduced ourselves to the sweet lady at the reception desk. “Hi, my name’s Lauren. We have a booking here.” She kindly notified me that no, I didn’t have a booking here, and could I possibly be thinking of Hot Water Beach… “you know, the place where you can dig hot spas in the sand, and with Cathedral Cove from the Narnia movie close by?” Yes, I did know. I glanced down at my planning folder with ‘Project Narnia’ written on the front – we were so excited to visit Cathedral Cove that we had named our entire trip after it. With the drive to Hot Water Beach an extra hour or two away, and only one night in our accommodation there, we would be cutting it fine to reach Cathedral Cove before sunset.
Another thing that this trip highlighted for me, was that God has a sense of humour. We reached the car park, I threw on some shoes and we followed the signs until we reached one that said ’30 minutes to Cathedral Cove’. What?! The sun was setting over the beautiful beach, and we had a 30 minute walk until we reached the cove. With a smile on her face, my adventurous friend broke into a run, and we jogged through bushland and over hills and farmland filled with sheep. Did you know that the sheep population in New Zealand is higher than that of humans? Well, now you do.
After about 15 minutes, we couldn’t believe what met our eyes as we stepped onto the cool, wet sand. What God had prepared for us was truly stunning. Of course, I thought to myself. You had this planned out all along, didn’t you? The sun was low in the sky, shining straight through the cove and bouncing in every direction off the gently rolling waves. Because it was so late, the beach was free of tourists and we could bask in God’s glorious creation with the freedom to squeal in our excitement, and take photos to capture the experience. With the water licking at my toes and the warm sun setting on my face, I thanked Him for taking me there, and giving us the privacy to enjoy it not as a tourist destination – but as His creation.
I could tell you many more stories about the trust lessons that God taught me while we travelled across the island. How our car broke down on the way to the airport on the way home, or how He guided us to a church of 2000 people and somehow somebody recognised that we were new, and took us out to dinner. How my friend and I fought over directions and later laughed at the things we were learning about each other. How every single thing that I worried about, He had already taken care of… He just wanted the opportunity to make me realise it. Maybe it took a trip overseas for me to open my eyes.
I wonder if we wore that ‘away-from-home’ attitude all the time, whether our hearts would be more open to wondering, learning & seeing. When we ask God to help us to trust Him, he doesn’t just give us trust – He puts us in situations where we are forced to rely on Him and ask for His help. My prayer is that we can have our eyes permanently opened to Him and the things he wants to teach us – He might do it when we least expect it.
— Lauren x