Southern Indiana Living

MAR-APR 2018

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Mar/Apr 2018 • 45 I don't recommend hiking in the Grand Canyon in the snow. The path I took was called the Kaibab trail, which de- scends the South Rim of the canyon in a series of narrow switchbacks. I don't remember any handrails or fences, just a steep drop into the rocky abyss. Standing on the rim, it reminded me of every Road- runner and Coyote cartoon I'd watched as a kid. All I was missing was a set of Acme bat wings. It was college spring break, and I was starting to wonder if I should have gone to the beach like almost every other student I knew. Instead, my friends and I were on a mission trip in Arizona and took a side excursion up to the Grand Canyon for a few days. It seemed like a good idea at the time. After all, it was spring. When we'd flown into Phoenix, it was 93 degrees. Of course, three hours later, when we'd made it to the mountains, we found six inches of fresh snow on the ground. That doesn't happen in Indiana. Unfortunately the Grand Canyon had picked up some of this snow as well. The Kaibab trail was well-traveled, which meant the snow had been packed into an icy glaze. It looked more like a luge track than a hiking trail. Just to make maĴers more interesting, I was wearing a worn- out pair of cheap tennis shoes. I didn't want any fancy cleats or hiking gear to slow this guy down. Just take it nice and easy, I told my- self, one step at a time. Forget about the fact that the canyon is 6,000 feet deep. Forget about the sign I had just read that said people die here every year. Forget about the mules who are about to run me off the path. The mules were climbing up the path as we were descending, but instead of freaking out with each step, they were sauntering up the canyon like it was a walk in the park, which I guess techni- cally it was. Just not the kind of parks I was used to. For the mules, however, it was no big deal. They were loaded with packs and passengers and strolled right past us as we flaĴened ourselves against the canyon wall. They didn't look too wor- ried about the snow or the heights or steep drop. They were sure-footed, confident and relaxed. When I think that about those mules, it reminds of something the poet David once wrote. He said, "God arms me with strength, and he makes my way perfect. He makes me as surefooted as a deer, en- abling me to stand on mountain heights" (Psalm 18:32-33 NLT). We all face slippery slopes in life, those precarious situations when we're uncertain about our next step. Sometimes the things we thought we thought were solid—our jobs, marriages, health, financ- es, friendships—begin to crumble. The ground under our feet doesn't feel as secure as it used to, and we can see potential disaster waiting around ev- ery bend in the trail. Our knees become shaky and our footsteps hesitant. Some days we don't feel like we can stand at all. However perilous your circum- stances may seem today, though, just re- member that you're not walking this path alone. The God who walks with you is steady and strong. When you place your confidence in him, he can help you navi- gate even the most treacherous of life's trails and give you the strength to stand. • Jason Byerly is a writer, pastor, husband and dad who loves the quirky surprises God sends his way every day. You can catch up with Ja- son on his blog at www.jasonbyerly.com or on TwiĴer at www.twiĴer.com/jasondbyerly. Above: A 1995 snapshot of Jason Byerly at the Grand Canyon No Walk in the Park Everyday Adventures The Kaibab trail was well-traveled, which meant the snow had been packed into an icy glaze. It looked more like a luge track than a hiking trail.

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