I once lost my lunch in the Grand Canyon—my lunch, my breakfast, my dinner from the night before, and everything in between.
The summer after college a buddy and I bought a six-week pass for unlimited Greyhound Bus rides. We used them to travel all over the West Coast, taking in all the big cities and national parks we could. The Grand Canyon was on the top of my “must see” list.
We arrived later than we’d hoped, right around noon. Should we eat lunch before hiking? Should we wait until evening so it wasn’t so brutally hot? Nah, we were sick of being cramped in a vehicle. We wanted to stretch our legs and get hiking. So, armed with a Granny Smith apple, a package of Pop Tarts, and a bottle of water, we took off down the trail.
We started off at a brisk pace, which soon evolved into a trot, and then a full-on sprint. I love the adrenaline rush of racing downhill, knowing you are one misstep from disaster.
We weaved around other hikers like a downhill skier navigates flag poles. People looked at us like we were crazy and made comments to the same effect. We just giggled and kept on going.
The twelve-mile round-trip hike is supposed to take six to seven hours. We reached the six-mile mark at the edge of Plateau Point in 90 minutes.
After patting ourselves on the back for what we assumed must have been the fastest descent the Grand Canyon had ever seen, we finally rested. I pulled out my water bottle, downing half of it, along with my apple and Pop-Tarts. After taking in the gorgeous views for about an hour, we decided to head back.
The trip back up the trail was not as fun. About halfway back, I started feeling shaky. Cold sweat beaded on my skin. My calf muscles began to twitch, threatening full-blown cramps. When my stomach started churning, I knew I was in trouble. All I could think was, Please God, don’t let me vomit on this trail.
My prayer wasn’t answered.
I spewed pieces of Pop-Tart and Granny Smith all over that trail. What little bit of hydration I had in me was gone. I started cramping everywhere and shivering uncontrollably. Somehow, my buddy was able to part motivate and part carry me the last couple of miles to the top. By that point, there was nothing to do but rush me to the hospital for multiple IV bags.
If you ask me what I remember about my first trip to the Grand Canyon, my mind goes to puking all over the trail. What should have been a breathtaking memory turned into a nightmare.
King Solomon nailed it when he said, “Wise people think before they act; fools don’t—and even brag about their foolishness” (Proverbs 13:16 NLT).
A reasonable pace down. An extra bottle of water. An actual lunch rather than a terrible combination of snacks. Any one of these steps would have led to a much better experience.
Why do we make terrible decisions?
It always comes down to a disconnect between what we want and what God wants. We want to do what feels good in the moment. God wants what’s best for us in the eternal. He provides consequences for us to live and learn by, but the better choice is to seek God’s wisdom on the front end.
One of my favorite aspects of Rooted is how the curriculum cultivates a posture of listening during prayer. This discipline of seeking the Lord’s leading has matured our church. It is much easier to walk with wisdom when we let Him direct our paths.
My prayer is that our churches will spend more time listening and being led by God rather than going our own foolish way.
For more information on Rooted and how it helps cultivate a posture of listening during prayer, connect with our coaching team here!
Jason Thompson is a teacher, pastor, and author living in Simpsonville, SC. He graduated from North Greenville University on a soccer scholarship and received a Masters’s in Teaching from Converse College. Jason has been working in full-time ministry since 2011. He is currently the Teaching and Discipleship Pastor at Renovation Church in Simpsonville, SC. Jason spends most of his working hours teaching, developing curriculum, and overseeing small groups and discipleship programs. In 2021, Bold Vision Books released Jason’s first book called Worth No Less, which is a book on discipleship and finding our value in Christ and His Church.