The next day Joel began feeling better. I couldn’t help but think the medicine and the bill were coated in pixie dust.
Our longest and most difficult hike of the journey was a thirty-eight-kilometer stretch between the Bridge of Orchy and Glen Coe. The day began with patchy skies and a few light showers that were soon replaced with ominous clouds and pouring rain.
We found shelter in the King’s House, one of Scotland’s oldest licensed inns, which had some much-needed glory hallelujahs. The manager showed us favor by allowing us to bring in some of our own food to enjoy alongside the pub fare. Our quick stop became a two-hour Scottish smorgasbord of delicacies ranging from fresh-grilled venison burgers to the salt-and-vinegar chips we packed with us.
When we returned to the trail, we met the greatest challenge of the hike, Devil’s Staircase, a steep, rocky climb compounded by rivulets, gusty wind, and pelting hail. Yet the treacherous miles and icy conditions were made easier by conversation, encouragement and singing tunes that ranged from hymns to Queen.
At every turn we experienced all the ingredients of divine pixie dust: grace and kindness, generosity and favor. In the evenings we returned to Genesis, exploring the faithfulness and goodness of God.
By the time we returned to Edinburgh to fly home, I felt an inward glow. The days had been long. The mileage challenging.
But something about the adventure cultivated life, not just a flicker or flash, but a beaming hope of life with a future. The wonder of divine expectation took up residence inside me.
On our final night together, Joel’s plans to dine at a specific Italian restaurant were thwarted by our tight schedule. We found ourselves searching the streets of Edinburgh for a restaurant. The most enthusiastic foodies ran ahead from one outdoor menu display to the next, narrowing down the selection.
Juliet found a French restaurant tucked away on a quiet cobblestone street. We gathered cozily around a wooden table.
The white linens gossiped of the tasty food to come. After placing our orders, we sat around like people who had known each other for years. We told stories and cracked jokes. Our voices bounced off the stone floor, joining the chorus of what had become a full restaurant.
“Look!” Joel said. His eyes were wide as he pointed toward pieces of framed art across the room. “Do you know what that says?”
We turned to what grabbed his attention. Above a row of photography featuring faces from around the world sat four larger pieces of framed art. Each featured French words scrawled in colored pencil, finger paint, and crayon, perhaps by children, on backgrounds of black, white, yellow, and blue. I squinted to read but, seeing it was French, stopped and looked to Joel for a translation.
Joel leaned forward to interpret the paintings, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and void . . .” He continued reading until our bodies were covered with goose pimples. The final painting read, “On the seventh day, God rested.”
We flew across the Atlantic, drove 605 miles, and hiked 50 more to arrive in a French restaurant in Scotland that greeted us with the seven days of creation in Genesis – the very passages we explored that week.
As if that weren’t enough, the name of the restaurant was Le Sept, “The Seven.” I felt as though we were living a fairy tale. The server delivered the finest food any of us had eaten in a long time, and we celebrated.
We delighted in the lavish love of God. Our bellies satisfied, we exited the restaurant and searched for the nearest bus stop. We stood next to the road, craning our necks for Bus 42.
Behind us stood a large library with giant oaken doors. Next thing we knew, Joel was pointing again, this time toward large letters on the front of the building, “Let there be light.”
We were wonderstruck. Our jaws dropped. Each word seemed to call us by name. As if carving himself into the side of a building right before our eyes, God revealed himself again. Now he didn’t appear out of nowhere. Rather, in this holy exclamation point of a moment, God came into focus in such a way that we could not deny he’d been with us the whole time.
God had been hiding in plain sight along the Highland Way. None of our encounters was chance; none of our experiences accidental. God not only heard the petition for pixie dust but answered in ways that stirred the wonder of divine expectation in all of our hearts.
The experience revealed I still lived with a lid on my prayer life. Petitioning for pixie dust removes any sense of “praying it safe.” Asking God to unleash his mercy and grace and goodness and love is like boldly looking into the eyes of God and saying, “Surprise me!”
The wonder is that he does, if we have eyes to see. Whether in the shining eyes of a baby, a sunset that stops our conversation, or an eight-day trek culminating in holy goose bumps, God reveals his grandeur. And these revelations beckon us to go deeper with him.
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