by Kathy Howard
The day was clear and crisp, just perfect for spring skiing. The blue sky gave no hint of the trouble ahead. When we arrived at the slope, we purchased our lift tickets, quickly donned our skis, and hurried to the lift line. Four of our group sat together on the quad chair. As we began the ascent to the top, we chatted excitedly about the day of skiing ahead.
“I really want to try a couple of black diamond slopes,” Kelley said as she swung her snowboard slightly. Our oldest daughter had “graduated” from skis to the board a couple of years earlier, but had not yet ventured beyond the blue slopes.
My husband Wayne glanced over at her. “I should probably go with you.”
“I’m not going anywhere near the black ones,” our friend Connie said with finality. “Too dangerous for me.”
About a quarter of the way up the hill the chair lift came to an abrupt halt. Ski lifts often stop to wait for someone who has fallen getting on or off, so at first we weren’t concerned. However, long minutes passed and still we sat motionless.
For the next two hours, the lift alternated between long stretches of stillness and brief forward movement. The first time the chair began to move we cheered, but after just a few feet we stopped again. After that, every time we started to move we held our collective breaths. Unfortunately, each time we only moved a short distance.
It was a warm day for April in the Canadian Rockies, but when you’re hanging off the ground in the wind with the weight of your skis and boots pulling on your dangling legs, a chill can set in quickly. The four of us huddled close for warmth and told stories to pass the time. But all of us were cold, hungry, and a little nervous about our situation.
We didn’t know what was happening. No one from the resort had communicated with us. Doubts and questions bounced around in my mind.
Was there a plan? Did they know how to get us down? Were they simply going to leave us up here forever?
After about two hours, the four of us started exploring ways we might save ourselves. I started eyeing the ground. If I dropped my skis first, could I jump down without too much damage?
Then I checked to see how far our chair was from the closest support tower. Could I shimmy across the cable?
But just before I made a rash decision to act dangerously, someone shouted at us over a bullhorn. “We’ve been working to get the motor going, but it won’t stay running. We’ll try one more time. If that doesn’t work we will get you down another way.”
Another way? Seriously?! What does that mean? Fork lift? Helicopter? Giant eagle?
Just as I took another look at the ground, we started moving. All four of us were praying. Fifty feet to the end. Forty. Thirty. Twenty. Ten. Now, stand up and put your skis on the ground!
After more than two hours, no feeling remained in our legs but we managed to get out of the chair and move away from the lift. Petite little Kelley was chilled to the bone so Wayne took her to a warming shack to thaw. Connie and I made our way gingerly down the slope to the lodge.
The resort paid for our lunch and refunded our lift passes. After eating and warming up in the lodge, we spent the afternoon skiing for free. (Well, I guess it wasn’t really “free.”)
For the majority of those two hours we felt as if the ski resort had simply left us hanging. We didn’t see any activity on our behalf. We saw very little forward progress. But as we learned later, an entire team of mechanics was working frantically to get us down to safety.
Sometimes life feels like that. When trials and difficulties rush in, we don’t always see God working. Often He is silent when we cry out for help. It may seem as if God has “left us hanging.” We might think He’s not doing anything while we struggle. But Scripture teaches us the truth:
• God is never inactive; He is always working (John 5:17).
• God knows and cares about every aspect of our lives (Matthew 6:25-34).
• God is all-powerful and in control of every situation (Jeremiah 32:17).
• God is with us in our trials (Isaiah 43:2).
• God is good, loving, and faithful (Psalm 145:17).
When you doubt God is working, when you wonder if He cares about you and your situation, remind yourself of the truth. God will never leave you to struggle on your own. Even if you can’t see it, He is working. Even if you don’t feel it, He loves you. Cling to God and His truth. And don’t jump out of the chair lift.
Kathy Howard helps women live an unshakeable faith for life by encouraging them to stand firm on our rock-solid God no matter the circumstances of life. The author of five books, Kathy has a Masters in Christian Education and a certificate in women’s ministry. She has been teaching the Bible for over 25 years and speaks regularly at women’s retreats and events. Kathy and her husband live in the Houston area and have three children, a son-in-law, and one precious grandbaby. Find out about her books and speaking ministry and get discipleship tools and leader helps at her website: www.kathyhoward.org.