In my experience, following God’s plans usually involves taking many small steps whose consequences are hard to see at the time; only looking back can I see the path God has been laying out, and my reaction is usually a smile or tears, not laughter. For laughter, there must be an element of surprise.
I have been blessed by a few of these occasions, but none more memorable than last summer, the day before I began a climb of Grand Teton. I was grieving the recent news of my sister’s cancer, and had planned to meet another sister to hike and share much-needed time together; however, she cancelled at the last minute. Out of my disappointment, I got a clear leading, “Go by yourself, and I will keep you company.” And so I did.
It was a beautiful morning and my spirits were high as I climbed steeply through forest and out into fields of flowers with sweeping views down to Jackson Hole. I stopped for water near two women who were scanning with binoculars. On the northern horizon I saw a cluster of specks and, as we passed the binoculars around, we agreed they weren’t geese – too big and flying differently, swarming with flashes of bright white. I speculated they were trumpeter swans. Thrilled by the sighting, we went our separate ways, but a few minutes later I noticed they were now due east of me and much closer, perhaps only a couple of miles away. I could now confirm they were, indeed, trumpeter swans, about 30 of them.
The words that sprang from my heart were, “Well, if you are trying to show me a sign of your love and caring, that’s pretty spectacular.” I think God must have said, “You think that’s spectacular? I’ll show you spectacular.” The swans immediately turned west and headed straight for me, then swarmed and circled directly overhead for five minutes. My joy could not be contained by a simple smile – I burst into laughter, and I’m sure God laughed right along with me. I never doubted for another minute that God would be with me every step of the way though my sister’s illness and death, with laughter and with tears – all part of God’s plan for me.
– Greg Morgan
Teton, Greg Morgan