‘The hardest days end up being the best days’: A lesson in patience from our holiday

When friends return from a family holiday and you ask, ‘How was it?’ the honest ones usually respond with something like this famous line by Charles Dickens: ‘It was the best of times, it was the worst of times’!  Read how guest blogger, Debbie Van Den Berg learned a lesson in patience and resisting panic when she and two members of her family experienced a day of extreme heat and unexpected challenge on a day trip in Madeira.

Whilst on holiday on the beautiful island of Madeira, we did a day trip to Nun’s Valley.  The bus dropped us off at the top of the mountain. Sitting eating roasted chestnuts with a beer in my hand, the view was breathtaking and life was good.

I was determined we would experience the valley at the very bottom. So off we trotted, happy and thankful the Number 81 bus would take us back up to the top.

In the valley, sitting at the bus stop, waiting… I contemplated that this was the valley in Psalm 23:4.

Even though I was through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

Its still eeriness made me not want to be there long.

My husband, Arno is naturally more impatient than myself.  So, looking at the bus timetable, he didn’t trust that it was right. As a result, panic set in!  The bus wasn’t coming, because it was a Wednesday.

So we set off back up the mountain.  In the baking hot afternoon sun.


It wasn’t long before my teenage daughter looked up.  The enormity of our journey was too much.  I growled (like only a red hot, tired mum would), “Do NOT look up! Concentrate on putting one foot in front of the other!”  Half way up on one of the many hairpin bends, Arno saw the Number 81 bus crawling up from the valley.  A face full of panic, he was trying to work out if the next bus stop was nearer than the last one.  My rational brain told me we had plenty of time. Instead, I got caught in the panic.

Thankfully, we arrived at the bus stop with a water tap. We washed our red hot faces before the bus pulled in. Sitting on the bus, we laughed and giggled about what had just happened.

The day after, God spoke: “Have faith the number 81 bus will pick your family up”.  I realised I’m like my husband and daughter – the mountain looks too big! The time is too long!

My family are mostly non-believers.  I have seen God working in them.  I just have to have faith there is a timetable.  I shouldn’t get caught in the world’s rush and panic. God is driving the bus! He won’t leave without them.

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