“The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and He delights in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; for the Lord upholds him with His hand.” Psalm 37:23-24
I fell and I fell hard. It was Sunday afternoon. I had the opportunity to speak a couple of times at the church where I pastor and it was, as always, one of the things I just enjoy. I love sharing and watching truth come alive in people. It was a great day to be at church too because every Sunday someone new comes back from the COVID blip. It is like Christmas morning and a family reunion all rolled into one. After church there was lunch with a couple of friends and family and then…wait for it…the nap.
There is something about a Sunday afternoon nap that is almost sacred. After speaking and eating, napping is just a natural. Well, after all the essentials were done, I decided to…take a hike. My wife Judy was down south visiting family so I had some time to myself. I really enjoy hiking with her but second best is just taking a hike. It was a beautiful day and Judy and I had talked several times about trying a trail called Indian Point. That was my destination. So after a short drive, I arrived and was glad to find it wasn’t too crowded
So, I hopped out of the car and off I went. I forgot my hiking stick in the trunk until I was about ten minutes in and I would regret that a little later but hey. The first part of the trail was like a nice walk in the woods. There were plenty of rocks and roots to avoid but not enough to distract from the beauty around me. I slowly ascended and soon, off to my right, I began noticing spurs off the trail that led to various lookouts. They were amazing. Atop large rock formations, the valley below spread out like a beautiful quilt in various shades of green. God impressed me…again.
Soon I was back on the trail, still amazed and still climbing up. Before long, I could see what had to be the trail’s name sake…Indian Point. It was a large rock outcropping many, many yards wide and it just invited you to come and see. So, I stepped up the pace in anticipation of what was coming. I should have been a little more careful. On my way to the point, I suddenly had an unexpected experience. As I was walking and as I was looking ahead, my boot caught a small root knob and, well, it wasn’t pretty.
I’m not sure if my hiking stick would have saved me or not but since it was back in the car that didn’t matter. I stumbled for one step and then just fell. There was no time to break the fall, no time to put my hand out—I fell and I fell hard. I landed on my left side and frankly for the first few seconds I was just stunned. And then, in a moment of brilliance, I said, out loud, “That hurt.” And it did. In my pride, I was immediately glad that no one was around to see my descent and painful crash landing.
I slowly, ever so slowly, stood up and accessed the damages. First, thankfully, it involved no blood but it did include a large knot on my left forearm, a banged-up knee and a rib cage that said, “Ouch.” Ok, so, I proceeded to the lookout, determined not to let what had happened rob me of the moment—and it didn’t. I continued on the trail and what lay before me was just amazing. The incredible rock bluffs, caves and flowering trees were amazing. I was blown away. God was obviously showing off when He made this part of Southern Illinois.
So, I made it back to the car and, yes, there were definitely some sore body parts. A few minutes later, I had to cough and I quickly found out just how sore my ribcage was. When I got home, I found out I couldn’t even bend over to get my boots off. The good news is that after taking too much Ibuprofen, I could. And for all of you who are worrying, by Monday morning things were better. My arm and ribs are still stinking sore but other than that—I’m ok. Oh, and for the record, I wouldn’t have missed the hike for anything. I can’t wait to take Judy with me.
My big take away wasn’t the fact that I fell, or that I was going too fast, or that I should have been paying closer attention—though all those are valid. My big take away—and don’t miss this—was how something so small could cause me to fall so hard. The root knob was probably two inches high but it was all that was needed to bring me down. For all my trails in my future, at least as long as I remember how bad this hurt, I will probably be a little more careful. I know I was a bit sloppy in my walking but it’s hard to look down when things above are so beautiful. There’s a lot of truth in that one!
My Dearest Daddy, of course, knew all about all of this and you might want to debate His goodness. If He is so good why this and why that but you would be missing the point. The fact is…I walked away. The fact is…this morning, I can move. The fact is…I was able to enjoy the rest of the hike. The fact is…He is a good, good Father. One of my favorite Bible verses says that He directs my steps and even if I do fall, He is there to pick me up. I like that…a lot and He was there to pick me up. And, He will be there to pick you up.
So, if you have some time and enjoy hiking, take a hike on Indian Point trail in Southern Illinois and be prepared to be impressed. Watch for the rocks and the roots and don’t get too much in a hurry. You might take a tumble and you might miss something spectacular. And don’t be afraid because whether it is a trail or day at the office, or no matter what, “He’s got this.” Bro. Dewayne