Close Encounters of the God Kind

I faced a dilemma at the beginning of our Alaska adventure—the budget kind of dilemma that often plagues me. We had enough money to make the trip if we kept our expenses in Alaska down. But I really, really wanted a better telephoto lens for my camera.

The 100-400mm lens that I already have didn’t seem adequate for capturing the wildlife we would certainly see along the way. I reasoned that since we would probably never drive to Alaska again, I should take the best lens possible with me.

After investigating lens rental companies and finding a very reasonably priced business that would ship a lens to Alaska, I broached the topic with Pedro. He agreed that the price was great, but he didn’t like the idea of renting equipment.

I schemed internally, looked at lens rental websites, and eventually decided that no one could beat *BrentRentsLenses.com’s prices. Secretly, I agreed with Pedro about the dilemma of renting expensive equipment for long periods of time vs. buying it. I encountered a second problem in that no one rented the lens I really wanted—a Canon 500mm lens.

My favorite camera shop in Bozeman, Montana does equipment trade-ins. I packed all of the camera equipment that I don’t use regularly in the hopes that they would have the used lens of my dreams. When we stopped in Bozeman I spent a few hours in their shop whilst they assessed the value of my equipment. Unfortunately, they didn’t have the exact used lens I wanted.

They did, however, have a lens that might prove good enough—but I hadn’t researched this particular brand. The lens cost considerably less than the name-brand lens I wanted, though. I shared my dilemma with Pedro, and he suggested that I talk to a friend of ours.

Listening to Wise Counsel

After spending thirty minutes on the phone with our friend, a movie producer and photographer, I came to the conclusion that I shouldn’t buy the lens. It would probably not meet my picky standards for clarity (I like to see every individual feather on a bird).

Deep down, I also knew that I shouldn’t go into debt to purchase another lens. I could have traded in my older equipment for it—but I didn’t want to trade name-brand equipment for a brand I didn’t know much about.

In times like this—when I need to make a financial decision—I often ignore wise counsel and just buy what I want. This time, I listened. The Holy Spirit has been working on me. The Life Plan I made earlier in the year also provided a check to my impulse to spend.

I found a possible lens on Craigslist the day we left Bozeman, but the advertisers never answered my email or phone message. We crossed the border into Canada with me feeling a little sad that I hadn’t found an exceptional lens for our adventure.

But God

Of course, God had other plans for me. You’d think that I would understand this by now. After all of the bears he had grazing along the roadside on our drive through Canada. But I confess to feeling a little whiney because I hadn’t gotten any great photos of a moose yet.


On our drive back to Chistochina and the *Red Eagle Lodge, that changed. We pulled over to eat a sandwich in the *Long Rifle Lodge parking lot near the Matanuska Glacier. After our Spartan sandwich, we went into the lodge for a(nother) slice of the best pie in the world—homemade rhubarb pie with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

When we left the parking lot and headed down the highway, I glanced to the right and saw a moose staring at us. Pedro slowed down and turned into the pullout where the moose stood, and I grabbed my camera.

How often does a moose pose next to the road for five minutes while an excited lady with crazy hair hangs out the window of a bright red truck pulling a shiny red trailer? Only God could arrange a deal like that.


I felt a special glow for the rest of the trip. Obedience has its perks.

Beauty Tip #23: Never forget that there’s joy in obedience.

Q4U: Have you ever acted in obedience and been surprised by the results?

Trust in God, and he will direct your path. Every single time. Click To Tweet

*These are not affiliate links or paid endorsements–I just like sharing information about great businesses!

Inspire Me Monday Instructions

What’s your inspirational story? Link up below, and don’t forget the 1-2-3s of building community:

1. Link up your most inspirational post from the previous week.

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    1. I’m kind of cranky in the moment, and you’d think by now that I’d understand that obedience begats joy and not have to think about it when making decisions!

    1. Ah, thank you for your kind words! In my secret heart (I guess if I tell you this, it’s not that secret ;)), I’d love to be a photographer for National Geographic. Until then, I’m happy sharing God’s amazing beauty on my blogs!

  1. I’m really enjoying your blogging tips — and hoping to get time some day to put some of them into action. (I know that’s separate from this lovely blog post, but I just had to tell you.) And if you like moose, you should travel to Maine.
    Michele Morin recently posted…Each Day By NameMy Profile

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Anita Ojeda

Anita Ojeda juggles writing with teaching high school English and history. When she's not lurking in odd places looking for rare birds, you can find her camping with her kids, adventuring with her husband or mountain biking with her students.

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