I took a few days of vacation this past weekend. The heat of summer has receded to make camping a more reasonable option again, so we made our plans. Raye Jeanne and I would pack up on Friday morning, take out the girls early from school and make a short road trip to a nearby state park.

The weather couldn’t have been better on Friday. Clear, blue skies and comfortable temperatures abounded. A nice camping site was located, the tent went up quickly (the girls did it together for the first time!), a successful dinner was soon completed, and we had the beginnings of a weekend long competition of Mexican Train and a reading session around a roaring campfire. We couldn’t have asked for a better time.

Saturday morning, we awoke to clouds. No matter, they appeared to be the kind that would quickly dissipate. They didn’t.

We went to the park ranger’s office for ice, and asked for the weather report: “Twenty percent chance of rain today, 60% chance tonight and tomorrow. But there’s nothing on the radar anywhere near us. We should be ok through the afternoon.” Twenty minutes later it was raining.

This is, by our recollection, at least the fourth consecutive time we have camped in the rain. Now I appreciate rain as much as most people in North Texas, but packing a wet tent and then setting it up in my front yard or garage (it was the garage this time) to dry out is not a favored experience.

Some might think this a string of bad luck (actually, several have asked if I would please go camping in August). I prefer to think of it as God’s sovereignly good hand giving me gifts that are best for me. Evidently, the Lord believes that I need rain to sharpen my contentment with Him, instead of being dependent on circumstances for my happiness. That makes the combination of camping, rain and wet tents a good combination.

In fact, I think the term coined by J. R. R. Tolkien might fit. He said we needed a term that combined the ideas of catastrophe and goodness, so he offered the word “eucatastrophe.” That’s what camping in the rain (and all hard things) can be — a euchatastrophe — a hardship sovereignly designed by our kind and benevolent God to produce gratitude in us for His many graces.