When God Sends a Porta-Potty

And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19 NLT

Mother Nature poured down her fury—so God sent us a porta-potty.

My daughter and I left for an overnight backpacking trip on the Flat Laurel Creek Trail near Canton, North Carolina. We hadn’t backpacked in nineteen years. She had aged … and so had I. We planned to set up camp after three miles and then pack a day bag and hike to a nearby mountain bald which boasted 360-degree views.

Making good time, we arrived at our campsite, set up our tent, hung our food, prepared a day bag, and set out for the bald. The weather forecast called for thunderstorms, and we could already hear the thunder rolling across some of the nearby mountains.

Climbing to the mountain summit involved a 1,000-foot elevation change and scaling many large rocks, but we made it. The view was spectacular … for about ten minutes. No sooner had we taken our pictures than dark clouds socked in the mountains and their valleys. We, along with other sightseers, headed for cover.

On the way up, we had passed a gentleman coming from another direction. I asked him where his trail led to, and he said a parking lot. From this lot, we could access the trail our tent rested on, but from the other direction—allowing us to make a loop rather than having to backtrack.

When we reached the intersecting trail on our way back from the summit, we headed for the parking lot, which had a stand-alone constructed porta-potty. As we looked at the trail sign, trying to find the starting point for the loop trail we sought, the storms arrived. We had no place to take shelter except the small overhang leading into the porta-potties.

The storm raged. Lightning streaked, thunder rolled, the wind howled, and hail fell. Other hikers headed for their cars. We had no such luxury. Eventually, we had to open the door to the porta-potty and stand inside. Not a welcome smell. Fortunately, my daughter had some of her essential oils along and sprayed a few. 

After forty-five minutes of enduring a tense situation in a smelly place, the storm moved on. A fellow hiker pointed us to the trailhead we sought, and we headed the 1 ½ miles back to our tent. Little did we know what several inches of rain would do to the trail. We soon found out. The rain turned it into a river, which we plodded through. And the two river crossings were so swollen that we could no longer rock hop but had to fight the swift current to cross. Not a pleasant thing for a guy who can’t swim and fears water.

As we walked along, I heard a strange noise coming from my left boot. I looked down to see my sole had separated. When I picked up my foot, the sole fell off. Another few yards down the trail, and I heard a sound coming from my right boot. Same thing. All of a sudden, I was wet and soleless.

After looking at the trail, we wondered whether our tent was still in tack—and dry. It was an old tent. We knew it leaked, but we had covered it with a tarp. Though the tent remained, everything in it was soaked. Having plenty of daylight left, we decided to pack up and head back home.

When I mentioned how it appeared that a dark cloud (no pun intended) hung over us during our hike, my daughter came to her optimistic rescue. God had allowed us to see from the bald for ten minutes before the clouds obscured the mountains. He had provided a porta-potty for shelter when we needed it. Our tent had not blown away. We saw many beautiful wildflowers along the way. Even though I was soleless, I still had a semblance of a shoe on. And we had a wonderful adventure such as we had never experienced before.

Paul said that’s the way God does. He provides for our needs—and for us, the porta-potty was a need at the moment.

God will never let you down. He knows your needs and makes a promise to supply them—even if it’s a porta-potty.

Give your needs to God. He’ll never let you down.

Martin Wiles

Martin lives in Greenwood, SC, and is the Managing Editor for Christian Devotions (www.christiandevotions.us), the Senior Editor for Inspire-a-Fire, and a Proof Editor for Courier Publishing. He is an author, English teacher, minister, and freelance editor. He is the founder of Love Lines from God and the author of six books, including his most recent, A Whisper in the Woods: Quiet Escapes for a Noisy World. He has also been published in numerous publications. He and his wife are parents of two and grandparents of three. He can be contacted at martinwileseditor@gmail.com.

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