The view took my breath away, really. It was one great, wide chasm—The Grand Canyon—stretching expansively across the panorama of earth’s horizon. I never imagined how awestruck I would be gazing on this wonder of creation.
But the breathtaking spectacle did little to help me sleep that night. I lay awake listening to the loud hum of the hotel heater and wondered if I should just back out of the next morning’s 18+ mile hike. I didn’t want to disappoint my husband or my extended family, but would I even be capable of completing a hike of this magnitude? The late hour coupled with the anticipation of the early morning ahead only aggravated my decision. I prayed silently to explain my predicament to the One who is always there for me, and in the end I promised that if He would help me fall asleep, I would attempt the hike.
The next thing I knew, our 3:30 am wake-up call was ringing in my ears. The time had come, and I was ready…at least I hoped.
Standing at the top of the great cavern, all shrouded in fog, I felt so small. I have always been a bit weak when it comes to physical strength and stature, and never more so than at this precipice. Together, our group stepped aside and offered a family prayer, and as I took my first few steps down the path, I felt armed with power greater than my own.
As the hours passed, I walked, and ran, and stumbled along the trail, but we reached Phantom Ranch at the bottom of the canyon much faster than I anticipated. Unfortunately the journey back up was not as swift. I remained strong for the first few miles, but then my knee began to act up. And even though I hiked in what appeared to be an exquisite oil painting composed of perfectly formed craggy cliffs in all hues of orange and brown, I found it imperative to keep my gaze riveted to the steep trail.
I remembered how the night before I jokingly told my husband he might have to carry me out of the Grand Canyon, and with four miles left, I wondered if my fears would come true. My knee screamed for relief as I took each step of agonizing pain and all I could do was clutch my husband’s arm and pray—“Father, please help my knee and help me have enough energy. Please help me finish. Please help me make it to the top.” And then the miracle happened.
With a little bit of medicine, and a whole lot of faith, the pain in my knee gradually subsided and I was climbing strong again. And even though it seemed like I had two million switchbacks still to come, I put one foot in front of the other and whispered positive thoughts—“I can do this. We can do this. We’re going to make it.”
At last I looked up and could see the end. My pace quickened as I rounded the very last bend and climbed the last few feet. And all at once, it was over. I had finished! I had made it to the top! I could scarcely believe it!
I learned many lessons from the Grand Canyon that day, but the one that stands out above all the rest is one we can all learn if we search our memories for those seemingly insurmountable challenges we’ve faced and conquered.
The lesson is this:
You can do hard things for you are stronger than you think you are.
And with the Lord on your side, you can do anything.
“…With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.”