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Stuck on the Slopes!

by Danielle Hagood

Have you been praying about something, but youíre wondering if Godís really listening? He is.

 My palms sweated as we inched closer to the top of the enormous mountain. The frigid air assaulted my face as I strained against the restraining bar—the only thing keeping me from plummeting deep into the gorge below.

Earlier that day I had gotten up at 3:00 a.m. and donned many layers of clothing. After a hurried brush through my hair, I’d scrambled into the waiting car beside my friends. Then we started the long, winding journey to the ski resort. As I sat baking in my snow gear, I contemplated the day’s upcoming adventures with my companions.
When we’d arrived, excitement caused jumping jacks at the bottom of my stomach as we parked the car and then crunched our way to the lodge. I had been ready to ski!
I’d had no idea that “hitting the slopes,” as my more experienced friends glibly called it, involved waiting in line to get my ski lift ticket, then waiting in line for boots that slightly resembled something from a bad astronaut movie, then waiting in line to get my skies and poles. I finally understood why we’d had to get up so early! It wasn’t so much about the long drive, but rather making it through all the lines!
After getting through the lines, my friends had all disappeared to explore the fresh powder. I, on the other hand, reported to the bunny hill for a ski lesson. I’d imagined that on the bunny hill there’d be extra soft snow and gentle rolling hills that would come in handy while learning how to ski. Not the case! I mean, I’d wanted to quit skiing after the first time down the bunny hill!
But after a little information from the ski instructor, I’d learned that my ski poles could be used for more than trying to propel myself to the lift after running out of speed. I could use them to help steer me in the right direction!
After a long and humbling morning, I’d managed to straggle into the lodge for lunch. I’d nursed my French fries while my friends’ conversation floated above my head.
“Man, that powder on the back side of the mountain was killer!” Dustin had exclaimed. “We made the first tracks of the day!”
“My bindings came loose,” Jordan had lamented. “I spent an hour in the repair shop, so I didn’t even make it to the back side of the mountain.”
As my friends’ talked, I’d wondered, How come they’re all so dry, and I’m all bedraggled and wet? On the back side of the mountain you  must fall a lot less!
Then Jessie had said to me, “Come on.”
“What?” I’d asked, not really sure what was going on.
“We’re heading to the back side of the mountain now,” Dustin had filled me in. “Come on, let’s go.”
“You want to do more skiing?” I’d asked, hoping they were joking and it was really time to go home.
My friends had just laughed as they led the way to the lifts.
I’d stood next to Jessie as we waited for the lift that would take us to the back side of the mountain. I’d squeezed my poles so tight that my  knuckles had turned white as I glanced at the sheer size of what I was about to do.
The earth had dropped out from beneath us, and I settled into my ski lift seat. The top of the mountain approached all together too soon. Before I knew it, gravity took over.
My friends cut tracks down the hill. Like a bumblebee, I raced to keep up with them. When I reached the bottom of the hill, I was surprised that I felt more excited than sore, and I was ready to take off again.
Big problem
The afternoon went by fast. By the time my friends and I took one last run down the hill, I was actually doing pretty well at keeping up with them. I even made it to the bottom of the hill and to the lift before Jordan did!
Then I noticed a problem: the lift wasn’t moving, and no one was there operating it. How will we get back to the front of the mountain, to our car and safety? I wondered.
“What are we going to do?” moaned Jordan. “They closed the lift without us! Does anybody have cell phone service? We can’t spend the night here! We’ll freeze and die, and I’ll never get to graduate!”
How graduating could be a problem next to freezing to death I didn’t know, but we were stuck in a bad situation!
“We could walk back up the hill,” I helpfully suggested. But everybody else quickly shot down my idea.
“We need to do something; we can’t just sit here!” Dustin pointed out.
Then Jordan brilliantly suggested, “Why don’t we pray?”
We got in a circle and bowed our heads in that valley as the sun set over the ridge.
Jessie began, “Dear Lord, we’re kinda stuck here, and we need Your help! We don’t know how to get home. If You could please be with us now. Oh, and thank You for making snow,” he simply finished his prayer.
We all looked up, hoping some miracle had happened. None of us dared to take a deep breath for a minute. Then something did  happen: the motor of the ski lift whirred to life. We whooped and quickly clambered aboard. When we finally dismounted, a man wearing a bright-red ski jacket was waiting for us.
“You kids all right?” He asked us as he eyed us to try to find out what we’d been up to.
“Fine now that you saved us! Thank you so much,” I told him.
“Not a problem. You’re just lucky I saw you. I was heading out to do my last check of the mountain, and I almost missed seeing you down there. What were you guys doing standing in a circle like that?”
“Um . . .” Jordan started, embarrassed, “we were, um, praying.”
“Well it must work, because you’re lucky I saw you,” he said, wrapping up our little interview.
As we headed down the hill to return our gear, I thought about all the things I’d learned that day. The most obvious thing was how to ski. The less obvious thing was that God really cares and helps us.
From my experience on the slopes that day, I can tell you that if you take a wrong turn and end up stranded in what seems like a valley with no way out, Jesus is with you (Hosea 11:9), and He can use the experience to show you and others how much He cares (1 Peter 5:7). Just don’t wait to take your problem to your heavenly Father in prayer!
Danielle Hagood enjoys reading, hiking, doing gymnastics, and spending time with friends and family and Jesus, her Savior.

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