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The story…  A hiker sets out by himself on a path he has often traveled. On impulse he decides to take a branch trail he has never before explored. The trail entrance is so well hidden it does not even appear on his map. Soon he realizes the route is much steeper than anticipated and is concerned by the isolation having encountered no one coming up or going down. He pushes on.

Hours later having reached a bend in the trail he sees his valley far below and is struck by its idyllic beauty. The air, freshly cleaned by last night’s violent thunder storm, has a clarity that seemingly allows him to reach out and touch the farms and small Village in the distance. Indeed he can clearly see his home some 10 miles away and thousands of feet below.

He thinks to himself, if man could fly I would be home within minutes. He smiled with satisfaction knowing that the days he had spent re-roofing his house last month with that distinctive red/orange color would mean he would often be able to enjoy this vista yet still feel close to home. Sure the work had been physically trying but he loved physical labor. So much more rewarding than pushing papers as he had so often in his previous life. Remembering the effort it took to re-model and expand his house, to complete every detail of his dream home – he smiled even more broadly.

Attempting to reach the best vantage point to take photographs, he sets his backpack down, takes out his camera and nears the edge. The ground loosened by rain gives way. Tumbling down the cliff he desperately reaches out and is fortunate to grasp a tree root emerging from the granite. It holds. Frantically searching the cliff face he sees that there is not even a small ledge within reach, only a tiny crack in the rock into which he manages to jam the toe of one boot. He is an experienced hiker and not given to panic. Safe for the moment he tells himself “I have survived worse than this.” Surprised, he hears himself saying this out loud.

Assessing the situation he immediately realizes he had told no one that he would take this route. Besides he wouldn’t be missed for days. A rookie mistake… He’d kick himself if that was possible. Rescue – even if he manages to hold on for hours is unlikely. Shouting for help he knows his only hope for survival is for someone to be close enough to hear.

Shouting for what seems like hours, his grip less secure, beginning to feel the effects of thirst, his foot growing numb and his voice increasingly hoarse, he hears a deep booming voice at the top of the cliff asking what is wrong. Barely managing to describe his predicament he hears nothing but silence. After a time the voice says “JUST LET GO!”

He is stunned. Amazed at the lack of understanding of his predicament by whomever this is and growing progressively weaker, he manages to plead – “Who is this?”

The response is the same. JUST LET GO! This is as they say the last straw and he demands to know who is above. A moment later the voice booms out – “THIS IS GOD!  JUST LET GO!”

Summoning the last of his strength and knowing that he can’t hold on much longer, still he is unwilling to do as commanded.Looking up he shouts weakly, “Is anyone else up there?”

*     *     *     *     *

Having exhausted yourself trying to cope with all of life’s challenges on your own, are YOU willing to JUST LET GO, to take that Leap of Faith and let God handle it?

   ©   Charles A. Green   April 18, 2014

Original source unknown. I heard a very much shortened version of this story many years ago used as a humorous lead-in to a speech. I believe the story is much more than that…  CG

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