As a teacher, I always look forward to summer vacation. It provides a break from the daily routine of the school day and allows me time to pursue one of my greatest passions – travel. I just returned from a seven day cruise through the inner passage of Alaska. From the breathtaking mountains and glaciers to the amazing variety of wildlife such as the black bear, polar bear, bald eagle, killer whale, humpback whale, salmon and sea lion – God’s handiwork in creation was on full display.
Upon embarking on a tour of the Glacier Gardens Rainforest Adventure in Juneau, our guide began by informing us of the various species of plants that thrive in this gigantic rainforest. He stopped our vehicle to discuss this plant shown above- properly named the Devil’s Club. He stated that these plants are rampant in Alaska and warned us to stay away from them. He explained that the berries are enticing but toxic. Even worse, the barbed thorns can cut through human skin and embed themselves under the skin and within hours lead to a very painful and itchy rash. If not treated immediately with antibiotics, a serious infection can occur. He continued by saying that the root, however, can be crushed and used to help treat arthritis, tuberculosis, coughs, colds, diabetes and pneumonia. One of the children on the tour was quick to ask, “How can something so bad be so good too?” The tour guide answered, that is one of the mysteries of nature.
As we concluded our tour and headed back to the ship, I thought more about that young boy’s question. I began to recall some of the classroom lessons in Earth Science this past school year about how natural disasters like forest fires and volcanoes all eventually work for good to help create richer soil for plants. I also thought about other plants such as the stinging nettle which is poisonous, but can be used to treat conditions like anemia. Also, mold which was used to create penicillin. Our tour guide may have been correct in saying, these are mysteries of nature to us, but not to God who created it all.
LIFE LESSON: At times in life, we all face circumstances, experiences and forces that are evil. These confrontations can leave us full of hurt and pain which cause us to search for healing. God is the caretaker of all life. He promised to use what was intended for evil for our good if we believe and trust Him and His purpose. All things that happen to us in this life may not be good, but through His mysterious ways He will work them out for good.
“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose for them.” Romans 8:28.