I checked my weather app one more time, even though I had swiped through it only a couple of hours prior—still thunderstorms every day? Really God? Help me to have a good attitude and capability to make this trip not stink. The drive down brought me closer and closer to my second home, the Red River Gorge in Kentucky. With a small window between potential storms, Chris, Jen and I worked to keep our six teens and four adult leaders busy to establish a camp fit for faring a storm or two with an emphasis on tarps.
With our camp secure from a falling sky we set out… 17 in all, (there were a few family members previously not included in case you are the type to be thrown off because the math doesn’t work) to find an arch undiscovered by any of us, leaving our curiosity in limbo as we marched through the damp, thick jungle. Upon arrival we not only discovered the arch for ourselves, but welcomed the falling drops of rain that once clung together high above our heads. This rain pulsed through the night, but with high hopes for a clear day of climbing day two, it went out to find some friends to return to us with more power. Suspended fifty feet above the manicured base at Muir Valley, I hung out on a 9.8mm Black Diamond single rope, snapping pics of our group as they faced off against mother nature both vertically and in a level of viscosity no one should have to face. The wall of water rushed past my right shoulder thanks to an overhanging cliff another 70 feet overhead, but quite squarely pelted the crew down below as they scrambled to keep themselves and the gear as covered as possible. “Five hours ought to do it,” said the storm as it unloaded it’s payload heavily then gently wrapped up about the time we tromped back to the vans, bubbly water pushing through the sidewalls of our shoes with each step.
Day three: “I’d like to climb the Indian Staircase followed up with a 180-foot rappel into the echoing Sargent Branch of Gladie Creek, with a side of torrential downpour please.” One Kentucky Spring day coming right up! Our group was split this time, the majority hunkered into the base of the overhanging cliff line, leaving about a half a dozen of us nestled together at the top telling riddles to keep our minds off of the large drops rolling down our legs and into our boots. By now you would think that six teens, five adults and three guides would have something to say about all this rain… but here’s the beauty: not one complaint, whine, moan, groan, grumble or syllable of discontent was audible by any student or leader the entire trip. For those of you questioning if there is a God well, I’ve heard a lot more grumbling from a lot less discomfort! “My phone just died… I’m not going to get my order for 2 days… my shoes got mud on them… my mom said I can’t play Fortnite tonight because I played for 14 hours yesterday, sorry guys… I had to clean the sink drain-catcher, gross!”
The book of Numbers in the Bible is riddled with complaints from the Children of Israel as they wandered around in the desert, questioning God’s favor and sustained provision. Check out this verse in Numbers 11:1 “Now when the people complained, it displeased the LORD; for the LORD heard it, and His anger was aroused. So the fire of the LORD burned among them, and consumed some in the outskirts of the camp.” How do you think God feels about whiners? Although I don’t see fire coming down from heaven these days, He’s the same God now as He was then, so His feeling is likely the same—displeased (anger is a secondary emotion). Want to please the Father? Take some tips from a group of teens who soaked up more water in three days than a sponge napping on a beach at high tide… find something to be grateful for and thank God, who knows your thoughts before you can even conceive them.