Saturday, June 22, 2024

God is in Control. A Backpacking Miracle.

I have to confess one of my weaknesses has always been worrying, or anxious thoughts about the future. I think it started around age 3.  I think the cause was partly hereditary but partly environmental.  I learned to cope with stress by worrying sometimes. My dad was 45 when I was born and prematurely greying, which led to me sometimes fear he might die prematurely which was a somewhat irrational fear for a kid to be carrying around.  This is still a weakness I’m trying to overcome, which is to a great extent behind my current health crisis, such that by writing this post I hope to advance in this.  

Anyway, flash forward to age 40.  I had lost a lot of weight in part motivated by the worry that if I didn’t I could face serious health problems.  I had exercised and followed a strict diet for over a year.  Part of my motivation was to get back into backpacking once I reached a certain weight, which I did.

We went out and bought new backpacks and gear and I planned out in detail our two day, one night backpacking trip on the Butterfield trail in Devil’s Den State Park in northwest Arkansas.  I was very excited about it, but still too consumed with my weight loss efforts.  

The Butterfield trail is about 14 miles long, which calculates to roughly 25,000 steps.  On the last day, the last several miles were grueling to the point I was in a kind of daze pushing myself to the end of the trail.  I was exhausted and in hindsight still not in shape to do that trail, but I did.

On the VERY last step, the 25,000th step, as my foot stepped off the trail at its exact end, the sole of one of my boots came off completely.  Those boots had held up for over 20 years.  I had come prepared with all sorts of gear, but nothing to repair a boot sole.  I walked across the park parking lot and sat in some shade at a picnic table pondering this.

It occurred to me if the sole had come off anywhere along the trail, say half way the night before, or even the last mile, it would have been extremely difficult to walk on that foot up and down that rocky trail without a sole.  I would have been in a pickle. But the fact it came off the very last step of the trail occurred to me it was a miracle. After all those years wearing those boots, and not only for backpacking and hiking, after 25,000 steps on that trail, it came off at that most opportune time. 

I paused and thanked God, asking for insight to this miracle.  What He communicated to me was not only that He took mercy on me so I could have full use of the boots to complete the trip, but I also had an overwhelming sense He was laughing at me in a light-hearted way, as if to say I had worried too much about my health and losing enough weight to complete that trip.  From that I also took away that this is something I need to work on, but generally most of the time not a sin but a fault or weakness, given the sense God was being light-hearted with this miracle. The boot sole didn’t just come loose on its own.  God Himself intervened and caused the sole to fall off the boot at that precise moment. The odds are just too infinitesimally low to think this was just a coincidence.  

God knows many times since then I’ve had trials in which I succumbed to worry, including my present trial.  My challenge is to always remember God is in control over everything, His Providence is omnipotent, omniscient, and perfect, such that there is no purpose in worrying.  I pray God eradicates this fault in me once and for all.  

And I’m sure you the reader have also witnessed the supernatural Providence of God intervene to help you yourself overcome vice and grow in virtue.  He is in control.