Story of the Day for Wednesday June 8, 2011
Dashed Dreams and a Higher Plan
“. . . Moses named his son Gershom, explaining, “I have become a foreigner in a foreign land.”
Moses’ life is curious in that his personal tragedies set him on the road to a higher purpose. Persecution forces his mother to float her baby away in a reed basket. But then he’s discovered by Pharaoh’s daughter. Moses is raised in the shadow of the pharaoh, yet is later is forced to flee into the desert. In Midian, he marries and raises a family and learns the peaceful, nomadic life. But then God makes him go back to Egypt as a vocal, public figure. All of the major disappointments in Moses’ life are the prelude to a higher plan.
David Thompson, born in 1770, was raised in poverty. Yet, due to this, he found a steady job in Canada with the Hudson’s Bay Company when he was only fourteen. His work as a fur trader, unfortunately, was disrupted when a serious leg injury forced him to convalesce for two winters.
This setback, however, enabled Thompson to spend time with surveyor, Philip Turnor, who refined young David’s skills in math, astronomy, and surveying. When Thompson recovered, his company promoted him to the position of surveyor.
In 1797, David Thompson left Hudson’s Bay to work for the North West Company. After surveying 4000 miles – which included Lake Superior and the headwaters of the Mississippi River – Thompson was sent west. The North West Company had heard that their American rival, John Jacob Astor, had sent a ship around Cape Horn to claim the Columbia River for his fur trading empire.
Thompson was sent to discover, and map, the route of the Columbia River before Astor’s ships arrived. Ironically, Thompson found the Columbia River twice, but didn’t know it. At its source, the Columbia flows for two hundred miles in a northerly direction – the opposite direction it was “supposed” to flow. Thompson and his men took an arduous 600 mile detour through my present stomping grounds in Montana before they discovered the Columbia as it flowed southwest.
The confusion cost Thompson two months. When he finally reached the mouth of the Columbia, he learned that Astor’s ship had beaten them . . . by two months.
David Thompson didn’t know at the time that rights to fur trading were trivial compared to what he accomplished. His seemingly futile wanderings caused him to map 2,340,000 square miles – more than any geographer who ever lived. He visited Edmonton, Calgary, and Portland before these cities had even been invented. Though he failed in his attempt to ensure beaver pelts for his company, he accomplished something far greater: he mapped and defined a nation.
Dashed dreams which initiate a higher plan – do you think that was only true for Moses and David Thompson? Or do you believe God is doing the same thing in your life?
(copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)