Stuck On Shadow Mountain
It was early spring of 1971. We had moved to the High Desert area of Southern California, and wanted to witness to our neighbors. An inspired statement says, There is more religion in a good loaf of bread than one would think.
Homemade bread! What a wonderful idea! Soon I took three beautiful loaves of bread from my oven. The Lord had blessed my efforts. In the early evening, I jumped in my Fiat (1967 1100-R model), the steaming hot bread beside me, and zipped over the desert to one neighbor, then another. The last neighbor lived on the other side of Shadow Mountain, but there was a short cut.
The short cut was fun. The sand was churned up and you could speed, turning the corners too fast, sliding in the sand—and yet not get stuck. I was soon there, delivered the bread and started home. By now it was dark, and there was no moon. My headlights stabbed the velvety darkness but I had difficulty following the short cut.
Suddenly I realized that I was driving uphill on hard ground with small brown pebbles. Oh, I should go back and find the short cut. Why? The car is moving along all right. Maybe this is a shorter short cut.
The pebbles became rocks and the incline was steeper. Maybe I should turn around. Lois, do not be a worry wart. You will make it! The rocks got bigger and I came to the top of wherever I was. The adrenaline started to flow and I was getting scared. Oh, why worry? I will just drive down the other side.
By now there were good-sized boulders. As I was dodging them, I saw an erosion ditch to my right. My fear was full blown and I thought of turning around. No, you have gone too far to turn around, and so, I went on. The erosion ditch was getting deeper and deeper.
Suddenly my headlights showed the erosion ditch right in front of me. It was a full sized gully with huge boulders on the other side of it. Well, this is the end of this trip. I had really better turn around now. Not much room. Oh, well, it is a small car. I will make it.
So I backed up with wheels cramped as far as they would go. Move forward with the wheels cramped the other way. About ten times I see-sawed. Finally my little Fiat was headed back up the mountain. Ahhh, put it in low gear, gently let the clutch out and I am home free!
Zzizzizzizzizztt. The tires were spinning on loose sand. Well, the sand cannot be very deep up here, I will just try again. Zzizzizzizzizztt. Oh, Heavenly Father, I have been so foolish. You have been trying to warn me for the past fifteen minutes and I would not listen. Please do not leave me here on Shadow Mountain. Please help me get home.
Now, I had prayed. Surely it would be all right. Put it back in gear, gently let the clutch out. Zzizzizzizzizztt! If I kept on spinning the wheels, I would dig myself in down to the axles. Admit it, Lois, you are stuck! I got out of the car to better assess my situation. A breeze was blowing. It would escalate into a stiff wind. I was wearing a sleeveless light dress and rubber thongs on my feet. No sweater. No flashlight. No moon, and the stars were pale. I was already getting cold.
I humbly confessed my foolishness to God. I freely confessed that I had ignored His counsel. How easy it would have been to turn around when I was first going wrong. I told God that I did not deserve any help from Him and I was willing to take my lumps. With tears streaming down my face, I asked for forgiveness and made things right with my Heavenly Father. Peace filled my heart.
In the distance, like a beautiful jewel on a black velvet cloth, I could see my home. Light was streaming from every window. It meant warmth and comfort, security from the elements and the companionship of my husband. How I longed to be there!
I had two options: Stay in the car all night and be miserably cold. Or I could walk home. It was only one mile, but in the dark I would have to crawl over the huge boulders and feel my way down. I had seen rattlesnakes in that area, and they come out at night. And walking across the desert in flimsy rubber thongs, the cholla cactus were sure to get my toes.
I decided to go home. The breeze whipped my dress and I shivered. Well, (sigh) guess I had better get going. But before I could take a step, I heard the still, small voice. Lois, try it one more time.
Yes, Lord, I will be glad to. I jumped into the car, offered a short prayer, started the engine, put it in gear and slowly let the clutch out. Zzizzit. The wheels started to spin and then stopped. At that moment I felt my guardian angel give the car a little push and ever so slowly it began to move forward. Praise God for His goodness! I carefully retraced my way and was soon home.
I learned three valuable lessons that night.
1. There is a way that seemeth right—but it does not take you where you want to go.
2. It is never too late to turn around when you are going the wrong way.
3. God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in time of trouble.