The day dawned perfect for hiking to waterfalls and enjoying the beauty of creation. It was one of those rare days in the Pacific Northwest where Mt. Rainier could be seen in all its glory! So we took off, in the morning, and headed for the trails.
We were not disappointed. We walked beneath the towering pines, traversed a log hewn bridge across a swollen creek and drank from the pristine water of the falls. By late afternoon we had worked up an appetite. We drove on to the lodge for dinner.
We arrived early, so we set off on a nearby, paved pathway to pass the time. There were many other people milling about as well. It was one of those days you just have to take advantage of. We found ourselves, along with others, on a quaint wooden bridge. It stood over a creek, where water sought to find a path between the boulders, coming down from the mountain in the distance. We stopped as I tried to capture the beauty with my camera and take the obligatory selfie.
As we turned to leave the bridge, two brothers, perhaps 3 and 5 years old, walked toward us. The older one accidently bumped into the younger one, knocking him over. As he fell, he rolled toward the edge of the bridge. I can still see the scene replay, in slow motion, in my mind. I lunged for the boy, but just as my hand was about to take hold of his leg, he disappeared over the edge. An involuntary, guttural cry came forth from my body. I was sure the child was dashed upon the rocks below. I got up, looked at my husband in shock and all I could say between cries was, “I tried, I tried”.
As the father came rushing over, I followed him around the end of the bridge. There lay the boy, perfectly fit between two boulders, crying but alive. The father grabbed him up and hurried up to the bridge. An EMT was also enjoying the day with his family and came over to offer his assistance. After giving the boy a thorough exam, he said the boy appeared to be fine. No blood. No broken bones. The parents took him on to the lodge to be further examined. I simply stood there sobbing and thanking God for a miracle!
I had never experienced anything like that before. I grew up babysitting and had planned heroic rescues many times in my thoughts, but I never had to put one into action. I spent the rest of the day and night replaying the scene over and over again. I was horrified that I couldn’t save him. I kept thinking, “if only I had…I should have done… What must people think of me, that I could not stop him? Did I really do all I could?” I truly wasn’t sure, until the next day when I felt the bruise upon my knee. The bridge was about 6-8 feet above the ground. I saw where he went over the edge and where he was found. I still can’t figure out how he ended up where he was, other than an angel.
I began to wonder if Satan had tried to destroy the boy and me, or if God had a lesson for me, or both. I have no doubt the enemy is always looking for a way to destroy us, but it was indeed a lesson that God is Sovereign. “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” (2 Corinthians 4:7-9)
We often forget that we are part of a bigger story God has written. When we begin with our smaller story, we think it is all about us. This leads us to believe we are responsible for the outcome, as if the plot resolution is up to us. We must secure a happy ending. Our life must go well. So, in my case, I had to be the hero and save the boy; failure being my greatest fear. The truth is, neither my success, nor my failure determined the outcome. God did. It was not my action that saved the boy, but God’s mercy.
The morning after the incident, I read what Paul says in Romans 8:37, “We are more than conquerors through Christ who loved us”. Christ overcame through His death and resurrection, not by triumphing over His circumstances. We too overcome by the way of the cross, the way of love. When we relinquish our lives to the will of God, we find true life. Life does not consist in living well, but loving well. “Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him.” (Philippians 3:8-9) So whether we receive a “happy ending” in our current circumstance or not, we can trust in both God’s sovereignty and His goodness. We can trust in His love. It is only then that we overcome the enemy of our souls.