After two hours of driving winding mountain roads, we stood there, stared at the sign posted in front of the two-track dirt path, then doubled over in laughter.
Not to say I told you so, I did remind the others how odd I thought it was that there were no tourist signs marking the turnoffs that got smaller and more rugged by the mile. But we had trustingly followed the GPS directions that had led us to this point.
And it was not the trail to Mt. Pisgah.
It had all started that morning when my brother, who was visiting from Vermont, came in from his RV parked in our driveway, and said he’d like to go see Mt. Pisgah in NC. Coincidentally, I had just been reading Deuteronomy 3 in my morning devotions—the passage where Moses says he pleaded with God to let him go over the Jordan and see the land he had been trying to lead those stubborn Israelites to for the past forty years, but the Lord was angry with him (Moses) and said, “Enough from you. Go up to the top of Mt. Pisgah and lift up your eyes…”
And so we all piled into our car, my husband, brother and sister-in-law, and went in search of Mt. Pisgah. (We did know it wasn’t the same one, by the way!)
We stopped at the pleasantly informative Discovery Center of the Cradle of Forestry (where I picked up this fun hologram(come by and try to touch the frog that looks like it’s sitting on top).
The road forked.
“Let’s take 64. It’s the “scenic route,” my brother said.
And indeed it was—past waterfalls and mountain streams. We were blissfully unaware it was not the way to Pisgah until it dead-ended at the sign:Private Road-Not the trail to Pisgah. Hours later, after making a complete circle, we came to a marked pull-off on the Blue Ridge Parkway within spitting distance of the mountain.
We had literally driven all around the mountain, only to discover it was only a few miles away from the forestry center where we had stopped earlier.
Have you ever done that? Spent a lot of time and energy (maybe money) only to end up back where you started? In our case, we had little at risk other than some extra gas and time, and so chose to just enjoy the diversion.
But Moses had a whole lot more at stake. One of the things that impressed me as I read the ensuing chapters of Deuteronomy that led to his death on the mountain, was how utterly, uncomplainingly surrendered to the Lord he was.
After forty years of dragging forward rebellious people whom he never asked for to begin with, many times pleading and interceding for their lives, he is told he can’t enter the promised land.
What does Moses do? Does he pull out his entitlement card? Does he kick and scream “unfair”? Does he pick up his staff and leave, resentful and angry?
No. He continues to deliver all the Lord’s instructions, warnings and blessing to the people who will go in.
And then he worships:
Give ear, O heavens, and I will speak,
and let the earth hear the words of my mouth.
May my teaching drop as rain,
My speech distill as the dew…
For I will proclaim the name of the LORD,
Ascribe greatness to our God!
“The Rock, his work is perfect
for all his ways are justice.
A God of faithfulness and without iniquity”…. —Deuteronomy 32:1-4
Moses finishes well.
Lord, whatever the reasons we go around our Pisgahs, whether from following a faulty GPS or from our own foolishness, open our eyes to the lessons, the unexpected treasures and beauty along the way that we may see you and accept your provisions and plans without murmuring or expectation of entitlement. May we too, finish well.
Blessings abundant friends as we leave this merry month of May and look forward to our June journeys,