I have experienced a lot of different trials from cancer to job loss to financial hardship to sick children. But, I learned more about the Lord from one small and simple act. The Lord can do mighty things by small and simple things
I have never been so frightened in all my life! And I have definitely encountered scarier things.
I was running along anthem trail head with my headphones on, sunglasses down and hat covering my face. My alarm to head home had gone off, but I told myself I would listen to the last ten minutes of this talk and then turn around and head down the mountain. I was in a zone. I was in my happy place. I was fueling my physical, emotional and spiritual needs. I had no where else to be. No one else around but me and my thoughts… until I took my next runners pace right over a rattle snake camouflaged in the dirt. I wouldn’t have noticed it if it weren’t for the rattle noise that startled me to look around searching for the source. That’s when I discovered mid air a rattle snake below my feet curled and ready to strike. Lucky for me I was in motion and everyone knows what’s in motion must keep moving. That’s exactly what I did! Kept running with my heart beating out of my chest and fear engulfing me.
What just happened? As I continued to run, I processed the encounter and all the different endings to my trail run. I was alone in the mountains with no cell service and a one way single lane home. This was the moment I started hyperventilating. I had to go past the rattle snake again to get home. Fear overtook my body. If it weren’t for the fact that I could come across another one at any moment I would have stopped dead in my tracks and never come down the mountain.
My lack of knowledge and skills filled my head. I had no clue what to do if I was bit. Do snakes travel in packs like wolves? Can I just simply walk by it or will it strike no matter what? When in doubt, pray, I told myself. Standing up with my eyes wide open surveying my surroundings I prayed fervently for my safe arrival home. I had enough knowledge to know that if I was bit this far up the mountain the poison would do enough damage before I could get to help. I prayed harder without stopping. At this point the prayers were simply to help me put one foot in front of the other and to know what to do once I returned to the scene of the crime. Without praying my body was shaking so hard from fear I would have frozen. I did not want to face the snake again. I prayed to find another person on the trail that would know what to do, but I knew that wouldn’t happen. I run these trails weekly and can count the times on one hand I have seen someone else up the mountain this far. Please just help me to keep moving I know that I can pass the rattle snake with prayer and angels because obviously I can’t stay up here forever (even though that thought did cross my mind). Something else more helpful also crossed my mind.
I remembered a story I once heard about two little pioneer girls whom lost their way from family and encountered a den of rattlesnakes. They were scared. They didn’t know what to do so they prayed. After praying they moved forward in faith not knowing what was going to happen. If little girls can walk through a den of rattlesnakes without fear, I can surely pass by one! I am a grown women who has lived through scarier things than this. Why are my feet literally cemented to the ground. I continue to pray for strength all while a solution to the problem creeps up on me.
At this point my head phones were dangling from my neck, my sunglasses were stored in my pocket and my hat tipped up for better visibility. My feet slowly but surely moving. Each step forward being supported by someone else.
There it was. Straight ahead and sprawled through the trail. What are my options? Can I throw a rock at it from where I stand and get it to move off the trail? Can I go around it? I was at a certain spot on the trail with a steep incline above me and below me where the trail had been created for easy access. What if other rattle snakes are off the trail. What was that? Did I hear voices? There it was again. It sounds like two people talking. And what a miracle it sounds like a women, because the last thing I want to meet right now is a man alone on this trail. I am ecstatic. Whoever these people are they will know what to do. I wave them down and tell them to stop. The women is startled and I swear almost starts running away from me. Why! Why, should I stop? I point out the rattle snake to her and her son and tell them how scared I am and that I don’t know what to do. I share my joy in their choice to hike the same trail as I this beautiful Tuesday morning. The young man is thrilled to see a rattle snake. He has no fear. The women tells me in her Russian accent they were just discussing how they could see a rattlesnake or tyranchala for the first time. The only thing this teenage boy from Russia wanted was to experience the animals in the desert. The women and I start discussing options while the boy moves in closer. Our first thought is for me to go around but all quickly decide that is not the best option. The boy begins throwing small rocks near the snake and the snake calmly moves off the path. As the snake moves I walk slowly closer. The farther the snake gets the closer I get to my new friends.
Eventually I am on the same side as the mom and older boy. I spend a good amount of time hugging them and showering them with praises for saving the day! I was so scared and unsure what to do, you were an answer to my prayers I told them. I was soon on my way without any of my normal running gear returned to their normal residency. I ran the whole way down the mountain with my killer instincts on and alert for more snakes.
I have pondered this experience and the IMMOVABLE fear I felt that day. More importantly I have relished in the faith I showed. Why can’t I show that kind of faith in my everyday actions? How do I rekindle that faith in my life? Especially when facing struggles. One might argue at this point that this circumstance is different than anything I come in contact with each day. Is it?
How many times in my life have I faced something that causes fear or uncertainty in me? Why was this one different? I wanted to have that same faith in all aspects of my life. I chose to make all my decisions moving forward with the same unwavering faith as that day on the mountain. Prayer is always available for help. I will remember to pray and ask for help. He will provide a way.
There is always a move, we just haven’t thought of it yet.