It is one of those cold and snowy Sunday afternoons that make you so glad to have a warm house, indoor plumbing and food in the refridge. We had a good church service this morning and then had lunch with Nagum and her brother Sam. He just got here from Lebanon this week and he is looking for work in the States. Bryce has helped us out by distributing his resume around and Sam is so impressed. His view of Americans before he got here was of a country of wild parties and swingers who hated the thoughts of family and never went to church. Well after spending a few days with Kizzy’s brood, attending church with us, and seeing all our family pictures and hearing us talk about the kids; it has changed his mind. He said his friends back in Lebanon would never believe him about this new view of Americans.
It has been an interesting work week. Last Sunday I was nearing the end of my rope. For over a year now I have worked to get away from doing expensive, time consuming, and frustrating dinner seminars at $50 a plate steak restaurants. I have been working diligently to cultivate other lead sources to keep the business growing and the growth has been so slow. I’ve had a lot of near misses but keep plugging along. Well last Sunday I was faced with an empty calendar and nothing firm in my immediate future, so I did what any good latter-day saint does when under stress – I made some green Jell-O. No, I fasted and prayed that somehow I would be able to figure out some marketing ideas and be able to sleep again through the night.
On Monday I got a CPA to partner up with me to do financial planning for his clients. Then on Tues I met with a large Employment Services company and in the course of our conversation we talked about joining forces, me finding a home in their offices, and growing their 401 K business. That deal is the one I’ve been working for this past year. There are a number of problems but we have taken a big step closer to making it happen. I just need to hang on until a few things get ironed out. I was able to sleep for the rest of the week after that meeting. Then this week is when I hear if we are the selected vendor for the doctor’s office 401 K. So keep me in your prayers. Mom likes it a lot better when I’m not so worried about work and can sleep at night.
I finished reading a book this week and would like to share a few ideas from its story. It was written and narrated by the author Aaron Ralston, who I sure you remember hearing about a few years ago. He is a 27 year old adventurer from Colorado who was hiking alone in the Utah canyon lands and had an accident where a large boulder fell on his wrist trapping him in a remote unknown slot canyon. He had his accident on a Saturday afternoon in April when it still gets very cold at night in the Utah desert. Over the next couple of days he tried valiantly to get out of his situation. He tried a pulley system to lift the rock and also tried to chip away the sandstone to pull his hand free, but nothing worked. He didn’t have much water and virtually no food. On the second day he wasn’t paying attention and spilt half of his water. He was freezing at night and unable to ever get comfortable during the day. He though of cutting off his arm but his attempts failed.
On the third day he decided to pray for help. He gave a simple but straight forward prayer, but was disappointed that it wasn’t answered immediately. He concluded that God wasn’t listening, didn’t care, or couldn’t see him. He continued on in his misery. He was starting to hallucinate as he was running out of water. He resorted to drinking his own urine. It was now Wed and he was preparing himself to die during the cold night. He figured that the rescue teams would probably find his truck and locate him on Friday and he didn’t think he would last that long. That night he had a striking dream that he described as more of a vision. He was in a pleasant family room wrestling with a small 3 year old blond boy. He realized that the boy was his child and that somehow he would make it out of there alive. Living in his current state was so brutal that he wanted to die, but after that vision he had hope and decided he would live somehow.
On Thurs morning he reached for something that had fallen and suddenly realized how he could free himself. He would wrench his arm so violently as to break his arm bones and then cut through his flesh and free his body. It was excruciatingly painful to do it, but he did it. Then he was mad at himself for not thinking of it sooner. Why didn’t God tell him that answer two days ago? With his freedom and a silly tourniquet on his arm he hiked a little further, repelled down a 70 ft cliff face and started the 7 mile hike to his truck. He was so weak and woozy that he nearly fell off the cliff and then almost dropped the rope over the cliff by accident. He found a depression in the rock at the bottom of the cliff full of water and was able to drink some as he started the hike. His arm was bleeding badly and the water wasn’t enough to keep him sane. When he was only about a mile from his vehicle he was ready to give up and die when some other hikers found him and were able to notify a helicopter that was in the area to do some searching. Aaron wouldn’t have lasted more than another few mins when the copter picked him up and got him to Moab and a hospital. And a sweet reunion with his family.
I was struck by this story because of the way his prayers were answered. When we find ourselves in deep peril or just typical daily problems we cry out and expect a quick answer. If it doesn’t come it must be that God isn’t listening or doesn’t care. Aaron prayers were heard. If he had broken free of his entrapment anytime earlier he would have bled to death on the way to his truck or if that idea to break his arm had come later he would have not made it because he was too weak or trapped out of sight of the sky. God answered his prayers at the optimum time and his life was saved and changed. God does hear our prayers and is aware of our pain and dire circumstances and he knows when and how best to answer our cries for help. Sometimes the answer from heaven requires us to cut off something of ourselves and put our self in line with Christ like discipleship. That can be painful as well, but the reward could be a blessed eternal life.