Keys and Climbing

I have been thinking a lot recently….I know big surprise. This one day from this summer has been playing over and over again in my head. When I got back I wanted to write down the event, but never did because I wanted the writing to be perfect and I knew it wouldn’t. Well today I have decided that I am going to record the story and it won’t be perfect, but that’s okay.

It was a typical beautiful Montana day. We had driven to the mountains just north of town for discipleship and a picnic. I remember sitting there as we ate lunch just soaking it all in. Over the past month I had grown to really love this group. After lunch it was decided that nine of us would head to the falls for a hike.

About midway to the falls we came across the following rock field and cliff.


 

There was a small picnic table facing the rock field and cliff. We sat down our packs and began to talk. A couple of the more adventurous ones in our group started to explore the rock field, which of course led to them climbing the cliff. They yelled down to the rest of us telling us that there was a beautiful view of the waterfalls. Slowly we all started through the rock field and up the cliff. It was a fairly easy climb. There were narrow ledges that you could stand on as you climbed. I was one of the last ones to make the ascent and stopped about midway up on one of the ledges…and that’s where it started.

I realized that fear was slowly consuming me. This fear however was not for me, but rather for the others. There will be situations where if I am the only one in the situation I am completely fine, but if other people are in the situation I fear for their safety and well-being. Realizing that there was something deeper going on I excused myself and headed back down the cliff. As I began to cross the rock field back to the picnic table I heard the sound of keys sliding across rock.

The sound caused my mind to play a long forgotten scene in my head. My family had stopped at a mountain in North Carolina on the way back from vacation. The site was very touristy and there was a long suspension bridge you had to cross to get to the trail that led to the top of the mountain. I have no idea how long we had been standing at the top of the mountain when I heard someone slip on the rocks. I watched as their keys fell out of their pocket and slid down and off the mountain. A second later I stood terrified watching as the hiker slid out of sight...their hands desperately grabbing at the rock. Immediately my parents removed me as other bystanders converged on the scene. We stopped at the visitors center…maybe so my parents could tell them to call for help. I don’t know. We got in the car and the incident was never mentioned again.

“Hey” “Hi” “Hello” T’s voice slowly drew me out of my mind. “Are you okay?” he asked. “Yeah” I replied “I just have to go pray.” Somehow I made it back to the picnic table. “Well, I guess that explain my fear of other people and heights” I thought. Then I realized that my constant worrying about other people wasn’t going to change anything. I had to release control to God. So I prayed one by one for each person on the hike. I prayed for their safety and laid each of them at his feet.

I ended my prayers with “God I trust you. I know their lives are yours and you are in control.” At this moment I opened my eyes and watched as the ground HD stood on gave way and he tumbled in the air off the cliff. There was complete silence as everyone watched him somersault through the air. All that I could think of was “God please.” By grace he landed on his feet. For a second he just stood there staring at the cliff before communicating that he was okay. I was so thankfully that he was okay, all the while thinking “this is not what I thought would happen when I gave you control God.” The guys helped bandage up his arm that had been scratched during the fall and we sat for a while and talked as a group before heading on our way. At that moment I had a choice to make: was I going to try and take control back or was I going to follow through on my word and trust God completely with the lives of my brothers and sisters? I don’t know why or exactly how, but I choose God. Worrying may have given me a perceived feeling of being control, but in reality I never had control….God did.