In late summer, our students and interns were not only exposed on rock faces and exposed to the elements for 15 days, but they were exposed to the reality of God and to one another. Here’s what they learned.
Praying specifically each morning about my fears calmed me down and gave me a sense of peace, and I felt more ready to conquer whatever the day held for me. Meeting this goal each morning then helped me learn in a very real way that God is bigger than my fears and is present with me as I face them.
In the past I’ve had the attitude of “yeah, God is real, but I need something to prove that. I need evidence. I see nature - I get that. But I need a personal experience.” And this trip hit me hard with that. Even though God pushed me to my limits, He showed me through that how real He is.
During one of the debriefs, Suzanne made a statement that really resonated with me: “The more you come to know and trust someone’s character, the more you will draw near to them.” I felt that happening in my life and heart as I got to know God and the people around me more closely on the trip... God’s character became the natural foundation for the trust I was now learning and stepping into.
“God’s love gives me hope and that hope gives me confidence to keep going.”
[During our eight-hour solo], I began to complete the Bible study that was assigned to the group. The last question read, “take a few moments to be completely still.” I began to contemplate my surroundings. During my stillness I became overwhelmed with God’s encouragement. I wrote every encouraging and positive thought that came to mind on my arm...My arm was now an embankment of reminders that I have value, I am precious, the Lord my God gave up everything just for me, and I can do all things through Christ...Every moment I glanced at my arm I was reminded of God’s love for me...
[As I was climbing], the people at the top could see me and my struggle. They kept telling me that they believed in me over and over again. I backslid until I was physically in pain and mentally deflated. But every time I failed, I tried again. I pushed past the discomfort and pulled my body up towards what mattered, those loved ones. With every inch I forced my body to make, my harness tightened up, making sure I didn’t give up or backslide. People can do that for you - hold you up. Once you get people who are willing to keep you on the right track, don’t let them go. They are rare and a true gift from God, even if it hurts when they tighten up...