Don’t you just love an exciting trip ? One of my favorite things to do is travel, and I find road trips to be one of this life’s best experiences . When our boys were 5 and 7, we decided to plan an exciting summer week relaxing and exploring the desert from a timeshare in Mesquite, Nevada. It was such an adventure.
Midweek we decided to take the boys to to see Hoover Dam and find our way to the Grand Canyon. Being adventurers of sort, we chose to enter from the less-popular West Rim side of the canyon that our Rand McNally map showed to be the closest. We had a quick lunch and then loaded up the rest of our picnic basket and ice chest, and followed the signs to the Canyon, turning onto a dusty, gravel-strewn road. After many miles, the pavement suddenly turned to all gravel, and we bounced along in our 4wd, the road getting increasingly bumpy as we laughed anxiously about our choice of route. I made a comment that we had only passed a handful of other vehicles, all headed the other way, but we finally got to the end of the road.
We had definitely discovered the West Rim of the Grand Canyon — but, unfortunately the only thing at that spot was a series of closed trailers and a large vacant helicopter pad . There wasn’t a single person to be found . Clearly, we were not where we were supposed to be!
The Canyon was magnificent– enormous — and we were completely alone. Did I mention that It had been 116 degrees that day in the desert? We quickly returned to the truck, only to discover we had a flat tire from all those rocks . We changed the tire, and after an anxious discussion, we chose to take a different road out that according to the map, headed South along the West rim, in hopes of avoiding those rocks .
This road was no better — apparently there had been a flash flood that week on the desert – and after 30 minutes of gloriously traveling alongside the West rim seeing elk, coyotes,and the gorgeous sun set we realized two things — One, we were lost somewhere in the middle of the million acre Walapai Indian Reservation, and that we had not one, but TWO more flat tires. We hadn’t passed a soul or a building for 30 minutes– the anxiety rose, I tell you ! We kept driving until those tires were almost gone, then, in the middle of nowhere, we stopped. By then the sun has set, and we had the grim realization we were spending the night in our hot truck, with our babies. Did I mention there was no cell phone reception ?
That was one of the longest nights of my life. We drank the melted ice from the ice chest, and prayed watching the stars, hearing the coyotes and smelling the desert heat rising in the still of that night . I prayed all night.
The moon that night and the stars were over the top exquisite. The enormity of God’s creation was stunning. In the wee morning hours, after much weeping and praying my husband set out on foot to walk back for help. The kids and I sat in the truck and sang Sunday school songs. Soon, though, my husband came back and simply said, ” I can’t leave you. This road is too well traveled. Someone will come”. I knew a peace. I had Hope that God would send a rescuer, and we were better together.
Mid-morning a tiny wisp of dust off on the distance came towards us, a lone Ford truck JUST like ours! The driver stopped to ask ” what are you people doing out here ?” Praise God, he was the helicopter mechanic driving and he miraculously had not one, but two spare tires he loaned us. We were able to follow him back the 15 miles to the cluster of trailers, water, food and a phone. We were fed and loved on by strangers, and were able to get new tires somehow, and head home. Our vacation ended that day — Home never sounded so sweet !
Praise God that our prayers were answered and we were saved that day. I’ve thought back often to that experience in my life, remembering the fear, then the hope. It’s an experience I never forget.
So often in life we experience circumstances that leave us without hope — trapped by anxiety, disappointment and losses, it’s so easy to lose our way. Negativity and doubt steals our hope. We get lost in our own desert, and so easily forget the promise that we are not alone. We forget that the God of comfort and peace never leaves us or forsakes us . We forget that the God of healing, restoring and second chances is so incredibly able. The truth is, regardless of so many struggles on this earth, we do have a hope in heaven where there is no sickness, no sadness, no pain. God’s Word is filled with stories of hope, restoration and miraculous possibilities in the face of impossible circumstances .
In Christ we have endless hope; but without Him is a hopeless end .
If you’re struggling, don’t lose hope! Look up! The God of miracles and God of heaven is our “forever” hope and peace. I am thankful God saved me from so many desert experiences .
“For I know the plans I have for you”, declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you, and not to harm you , plans to give you hope, and a future ” – Jeremiah 29:11