Bethany’s Moose… a free excerpt from Road Trip to Redemption

Road Trip to Redemption -by Brad Mathias – published with  Tyndale/Momentum – Carol Stream, IL (C) All rights reserved. Blog today is a follow up to an Interview topic discussed Live on Chris Fabry Live – via Moody Radio

Road Trip to Redemption is Available on Amazon.com and Kindle as well as anywhere Christian Books are sold…

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pages 200-203 “Bethany’s Moose” from Chapter 11 

“- The fog was intense, and the twenty miles up from Granby to the west entrance of Rocky Mountain National Park were a bit underwhelming. Fog blocked the amazing views of the pristine lakes to our right, as well as the peaks of the twelve-thousand-foot snowcapped Arapahoe national forest mountains that bumped up to RMN. It blocked the cute lake villages and old cabins; it blocked the views of the valley and the retro-cool tourist town of Grand Lake. It blocked the view of the forest and the trees, and it blocked my view of the road beyond the fifteen feet of pavement my headlights could illuminate. It was cold, wet, and damp. Forty degrees, with misty clouds of almost frozen condensation on our windshield, and I was looking for a moose. 

RoadTrip Parenting Family - Canada 2010

RoadTrip Parenting Family – Canada 2010

We crossed the visitor’s entrance and the fog was relentless—maybe even thicker than when we’d started out in Granby forty-five minutes before. I was starting to get really concerned. I was worried that all that talk and spirituality had been the Mongolian Beef and I was about to crash and burn in an epic way. Meanwhile, Paige was just quietly riding in the passenger seat. I knew she was hopeful, but she wasn’t talking about it. Though she wasn’t given to hearing these kinds of messages from God, she knew from past experiences that God sometimes spoke to me this way, and she was willing to trust me and what I thought would happen. 

I drove the first ten miles as slow as humanly possible. I admit I was stalling. If the sun could get high enough and strong enough, it would burn through the fog and we would be able to see the valley to our right. The valley where there might be a moose. I could tell that Bethany was anxious, hopeful for the first time in a while that maybe she would have a chance at capturing a moose on her camera–and, more importantly, hopeful for a touch from God reminding her that she was special, that he did care, that her needs and wants were vital to him. That she wasn’t alone, that God would provide, that God would meet all her desires, and that her dad wasn’t entirely insane…

After eight miles and thirty minutes of creeping through the valley, after pausing at three road turnoffs to peer into the fog-shrouded valley across from the scenic pullouts, I was done. No moose today. I was wrong.

I didn’t say anything out loud, but I was thinking it: Dude, you’re crazy. You want so desperately for your daughter to see a moose and embrace your faith and heal from something awful that occurred nine months ago that you cooked up this entire road-trip idea on your own dime. You convinced yourself and your family that God would position a moose on a specific day at a specific time just to show Bethany that he cares, that he exists.

I drove on. The fog persisted, but I knew that as we went into the elevated areas of the park, the cooler air would clear the fog completely and the view would improve at least for the rest of the drive. I also knew no moose would be that high in the park. Our only chance had been in the valley below. I resigned myself to being at least partially nuts and went on, smiling and chatting up Bethany and the kids as if nothing was amiss.

I felt the nudge. Again?

I almost heard the words in my head: Pull over, now! They were commanding, insistent, and firm, so I did it. I obeyed the voice and drove the Honda off to the left shoulder of the road. I was stopped a few feet off the asphalt and looking right into the oncoming lane of traffic, stuck now next to a thick stand of trees. I rolled down my window and listened intently to hear something, anything. Not a sound.

I got out of the Pilot; the fog was as thick as ever. “Bethany,” I whispered, ”get your camera. I’ve got a feeling.” We all jumped out and quietly walked to our left, toward a stand of trees and a bluff overlooking the valley below. I knew that because I had been around this general area before, but you couldn’t see it all today due to the summer tree coverage and the unrelenting dense fog. As we approached what I believed to be the edge of the tree line, I saw the fog start to part like a curtain. There, about twenty-five feet from us, was a huge mother moose drinking and grazing by the edge of valley–directly across from Bethany’s position.

I almost threw up.

It was amazing. It was miraculous. It was God. I felt the impossible touch of the divine as it reached into my daughter’s heart and grabbed her! God was shouting at her, “I love you, I love you, I love you, Bethany Rose! I want to be near you, I want to touch your hurts and heal all your pain!” It couldn’t be ignored; it couldn’t be fabricated, faked, or arranged. It had to be God!

I felt weak in my knees, weary and worn from the burden of it all. I realized I had been trying so hard to be the perfect dad, husband, and pastor. I had hoped and dreamed and tried to be all that I could be to Bethany so she would believe, so she would trust in God by my example. But in the end, I wasn’t enough. It took God to show up to win her heart. Bethany and her moose

Bethany was taking pictures as fast her fingers could press the button. She was enthralled, as if a small child had taken over her body and mind and heart. She was smiling, laughing, and full of genuine and unrestrained joy. I hadn’t seen that in her face for a year or more. She was happy, and all traces of cynicism and sarcasm were gone from her face. She was free, released from whatever lies the darkness in her mind had told her about the nature of God.

I could tell the lie was exposed, broken. The truth of God was setting her free. God did care, God was involved, God would meet and exceed her every expectation. This moose in the valley was so specific, so unique, so exactly what she had prayed for that it couldn’t be ignored, brushed away, or contrived as coincidence. It was God. Issue settled. Life changed. Hope renewed, Bethany had her moose, and … I wasn’t an idiot. ” 🙂

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Be encouraged RTP families, Just like God showed up for me and my family He will for yours. I don’t care how bad it feels, seems or looks like… God is aware, He is able and He will fix our messes – all we have to do is let him! Peace out Pastor B.

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