“I could’ve died.”
That was the only thought that flashed through my mind as I sat at the back of a small police van with 11 of my friends.
Just two hours ago, my friends and I embarked on a climb of Cape Town’s Lion’s Head Mountain. I’ve never been an adventure buff so I went along with the plans reluctantly.
We were in the tail end of winter and it had been raining even before we started our climb. Decked in only two layers and wearing shorts, I knew it was going to be a challenging climb.
The climb started easy but got progressively harder. From straightforward trails, we had to climb up steps made of logs, a ladder, and even scale the side of the mountain with only chains to hang on to.
The promise of a great view at the top slowly faded away. Soon, we were engulfed by the low-hanging clouds as the wind and rain hit down hard on us.
Eventually, we decided that it was way too tough to carry on the climb and decided to go back down. However, another problem cropped up. Our transport back was waiting at the other side of the mountain and not on the same side as where we came from.
We started the descent slowly down the same way we came up. We knew that there was a specific junction where we had to turn to reach the coach—however, by that time, visibility was a problem, we could barely see beyond five metres.
The turn we took proved more challenging, as signs of soil erosion were evident and directional signs were all washed out. Everyone knew that we were lost and the uncertainty of making it back was real.
It was at this juncture that I started to panic. And in quiet desperation I turned to God in prayer. I called out to Him for help, because there was really no way I could trust myself.
“I lift my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come?
My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.”
Psalm 121:1-2 (ESV)
Like the psalmist who was on a pilgrimage to the temple in Jerusalem, the hill must’ve been a difficult climb. But the reminder that God our Creator is our help, places the mountain, in all its grandeur and treachery, under the command of He who made it. It was a surreal thought.
“He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber.”
Beyond acknowledging that God is all powerful, the assurance that He is ever watchful is doubly amazing.
About an hour into trying to find the coach, we saw a road and made a dash for it. We found a police van that was situated by the road and we were given a good talking to for attempting the climb.
Apparently, the guide in the coach had called the police to search for us. Within an hour, they were going to call in a search and rescue team.
As we sat at the back of the police van, I was reminded of how God had been watching over us the whole time. He graciously provided us a way out in the toughest of all situations. He was faithful even when I was weak.
It is a good reminder to realize that we have a God who never sleeps nor slumbers. He is faithful always and we should be looking to Him at every juncture of our lives.
Don’t wait till you’re lost on a mountain to realize that God is there all the time.
Written by Isaac Tan for YMI