OK.  I was a wuss. 

I was in the Smoky Mountains Back country with people that I really did not know. My brother Frank knew them and we were going backpacking on a 5 day trip through the mountains.  Forecast was really good but reality was that snow, ice and freezing temps were reality.  I have never been to the mountains.  I have never seen snow. (I know that seems strange but I was born and lived in Florida all my life)   I have never really been in temps  below say, 30, I have never walked on ice and I have never backpacked or camped in them for 5 days with people that my brother knew but…..I did not.  And, at the last minute,…my brother could not come.  Now these folks are good people, but my brother Frank’s friends and not mine.  Well, I went anyway without Frank.

Day 1 it snowed, temps in the high 20’s at our elevation.  OK I saw snow for the first time for all day.  Day two was crossing streams on wet rocks, icy rocks, cold water and with a 45 pound pack.  But that was not the clincher.  We went up Gunter Fork Trail, another 4.1 miles on top of about 4 already done in 18 degree weather, walking up about 2500 feet in 4 miles on ice with drop offs of several hundred feet.  I was really scared.  I fell several times, I wanted to quit because I could not breathe and was horrified about falling off the edge. 

The trail boss, the backpacker leader, Kevin Kinion was behind me.  He would not leave me.  Everyone else was ahead, trudging up to the 5000 foot level…way ahead of the 50 year old Florida boy.  All except me ……and Kevin.  He was behind me.  He was encouraging me.  He told me…..”you can make it Louie…I will not leave you here…..I am with you….you can make it….you are doing good, don’t sell yourself short.”

I thought of the “Law.”  Deuteronomy 31:6, “Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord  your God goes with you; he will never leave you or forsake you.”  Kevin is a wise trail boss.  He knew I was terrified.  He constantly assured me.  He constantly told me he was with me and that I could make it.  So, I thought of the Law……it was a sure thing.  I relied on the Law…and I thought of God..He would never leave me or forsake me….I am not to be terrified or afraid. 

Man, God is cool.  He is with us and no matter what……we are not to be afraid or terrified…He is with us…Kevin was with me and a constant guard, a constant encourager.  I could not have done it without him.  So much more is God.  We can not really do it without him.  Want to give God a try?  I can help you out. 

Don’t be afraid or be terrified.  God will never leave you or forsake you…It is the Law!

Pastor Louie

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