Hello everyone! This is Jeannine again. My praise for today is something that happened a couple of weeks ago but I just learned about it yesterday so it feels more recent to me. My nephew, Jonathan, is in the army and was training in Australia for maneuvers he would be needing to use when he gets deployed to Afghanistan. His platoon (is that what they call them??) was up on a mountain for this training and it was late at night so it was dark outside. I’m not sure what they were doing exactly, but Jonathan was trying to run around the side of this mountain and was trying to pass another guy on the path when he stepped on some soft dirt and he fell down the side of the mountain and rolled what he called the “death roll”. He called it that because it makes you feel like you’re falling to your death! He couldn’t control the fall at all because he was rolling so fast. As if the fall wasn’t bad enough, every time he would make a complete turn as he rolled, his rifle would smack him in the head! He could hear his buddies yelling for him, feeling completely helpless because… well, they were helpless! At one point he stopped rolling so he tried to get up to make his way back up the mountain but then his foot slipped and he began to roll further down the mountain just like before. Finally after falling for about 100 feet, his leg got caught on something and that’s what stopped him. Can you imagine how terrifying that would be?? You’re falling down the side of a mountain and you’re completely out of control, it’s dark so you can’t see much of anything so you have no idea what you’ll hit next or how far you’ll be falling. The feeling of helplessness would be overwhelming. When you finally do stop rolling, you have to make your way back up the mountain, risking the fall all over again! He did make it back up the mountain and he said the only injuries he had from the fall were some cuts and bruises, a large knot on his head (even tho he still had his helmet on) and a large bruise on his back. Wow.
As I heard the story of what happened, all I could think of was how out of control he was during those moments he was rolling down the side of the mountain. I’m sure nobody likes to feel out of control, but believe me when I say I really, REALLY don’t like being out of control!! The thing is tho, how much control do we really have in life anyway? I mean sure, we can control some things but not much! Much less than we care to admit!
As I think about what must have gone through Jonathan’s head that day, not so much as he fell as much as once he got back up with the rest of his group, I can’t help but wonder how this changes his faith. I know if it were me, it would make me feel so close with God, knowing that God was the one who broke his fall. The branch was the tool God used to stop him but God was ultimately the one who stopped him. It would give me a whole new appreciation for God’s protection and faithfulness.
When I think about it from Jonathan’s point of view it makes me think to myself, “How many times has my life been spinning out of control in one area or another and I was trying to stop myself with no success?” I can think of a few times. In each situation, once I felt God’s hand on me because he stopped whatever it was that was hurting me from going any further, it made me very, very thankful but more than that… it made me realize how fragile life is and how important it is to keep my eyes on the Lord and trust him with my life. Nobody can be there for me like God can. Nobody can protect me like God can. Nobody knows when I need intervention better than God can. That day on the side of the mountain, while his buddies were yelling down to him and clearly they cared about his well-being, there wasn’t a thing they could do for him to stop his fall. The only one who has the power to do that is God and I’m very thankful today that God had his hand of protection on Jonathan. If it weren’t for God stopping him, there’s no telling what would have happened to Jonathan.
Thank you, God, for having your hand of protection on Jonathan!!