This week marked an important anniversary at my house. Four years ago, April 7, Ethan was trached. It’s one of those dates I’ll never forget. Snapshots from that day will forever be etched in my mind’s eye. Sounds still seem vivid. Hospital corridors still seem familiar. As I mentioned in my last post, this time of year I become incredibly reminiscent. As I thought about that significant event in my life, I was reminded of a quote by Beth Moore.
“If you pray that God will move a mountain and He doesn’t, assume Christ wants you to climb it instead and see Him transfigured.”
I had spent months praying for Ethan. Many people did. I trusted that God would heal Ethan. I told God that and I told others too. I was choosing faith over fear, and surely God would honor that, right? Except on April 7, He didn’t. Or at least that’s how it seemed at the time.
Stick with me as I continue to reminisce…
Just after Jeff and I were married in 2002, we took a family trip with my parents to Arizona to visit my brothers. My older brother, Karl, had a full week of events planned for us. A trip to the Grand Canyon, sight seeing through the desert, and hiking. Hiking in Arizona. It’s hot there…really hot. Jeff and I were still actively taking TaeKwonDo so I thought I could handle it. I was in the best shape of my life and I knew Jeff would help me.
We set about our hike, confident that we were prepared. We had water bottles, a nice lunch to eat at the top, our cameras. I had NO idea what was in store for me. This was no ordinary hike. This was pure insanity. Parts of the “path” were straight up. We were scaling sheets of rock on our hands and knees. This was just the beginning. We had MILES to go. HOURS of climbing left. There were moments when I thought that if I made one false move, stepped an inch to the right, I’d be gone. Dead. Seriously. I’m not exaggerating. A few hours into the hike, I remember sitting on a rock shaking. Literally trembling. I told Jeff I didn’t think I could make it another step. I looked up at the journey that still awaited me and thought there was no way I could do it. It was too daunting. I was ready to give in. I didn’t want to disappoint my brothers or my husband, but they couldn’t possibly expect me to do the impossible. And really-how rewarding could the mountaintop be? It couldn’t be worth all this pain and fear.
At that point, Karl, Teddy and Jeff all assured me that it was truly worth it. That they’d help me. Jeff took my backpack. Karl and Teddy slowed their pace. And I hit the trail again. One foot in front of the other.
Finishing that hike was one of the greatest accomplishments of my life. I felt stronger. Braver. Looking down from the top of that mountain offered me a perspective few others would have the opportunity to see. I felt immense gratitude that I reached that mountaintop despite the pain, fear, and difficulty that led to it all.
I’m guessing that you see where I’m going with this. Experiencing a health crisis with a child is surely a mountain we would choose not to climb, one we pray would be moved. But sometimes, it’s the path that leads us to experiencing God in a way few others have the chance to. As we climb that mountain, we find ourselves climbing right into the lap of our Saviour. Some days the road is so steep, we must approach it on our hands and knees, praying for strength and wisdom. Some days we find ourselves on the side of the trail convinced that we can’t take another step. And that’s the very moment God sends someone to carry our packs. You see, it doesn’t matter how prepared or unprepared we are for the climb ahead. We can’t do it on our own.
“Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary.” Hebrews 6: 18-19
Climb, climb that mountain before you knowing that it’s worth every tear, every ache, every effort. He’s waiting for you, not just at the top, but all along the way.
Dear sweet Elaine,
I loved your post. It is good to go back and remember and thank God again and again for His tender mercies. Give Ethan a hug from me…one day when he is old enough to understand, I will tell him how and why God put his Mom in my life and how precious she is to me. Thank you for helping me “carry my pack”. You will always be one of my miracles!