Brenda McLain was almost halfway to the top of a tremendous granite overhang, in the Echo Cliffs of the Santa Monica Mountains, in November 2006. She was standing on a ledge where she was taking a breather during this, her first rock climb. As she rested there, the safety rope snapped against her face and knocked out her contact lens.
‘Just great’, she cried, ‘here I am on a remote rock ledge, hundreds of feet from the bottom and hundreds of feet from the top, and now I can’t see’. Well, she did her best to feel around, hoping that the lens had landed within her reach on the ledge. But it just was not to be found.
She felt panic rising within her and offered a quick prayer. She prayed for calm—to be kept from falling—and that she might find her contact lens. When she finally got to the top, a friend examined her eye and her clothes for the lens to no avail. Although she was safely on top of the cliff, she was saddened because she could not see clearly the view afforded by the height across the range of mountains. But again, she thought of Scripture, and recalled: ‘The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth’ (2 Chronicles 16).
She continued prayerfully: ‘Lord, You can see every detail of these mountains. You know every stone and leaf; and because of Your power and might, You know the exact location of my lens. In Your mercy, and according to Your will—please help me—now’.
Later that day, with the assistance of others, she hiked down the trail to the bottom of the cliff where they met another party of climbers just starting up the same face. As the groups passed one another, one them shouted out, ‘Hey, you guys—anybody lose a contact lens today?’ The reference to a contact lens was startling enough—then came the reason for it. Another climber had happened to notice an ant moving slowly on a rock across a fallen leaf—carrying it!
The story doesn’t end there; Brenda’s father is a cartoonist. When she told him the incredible story of the contact lens, the prayer and the ant, he drew a sketch of the ant lugging the lens with this caption: ‘Lord, I don’t know why in the world You want me to carry this thing. I can’t eat it; build with it and it’s awfully heavy. But if this is what You want me to do, I’ll carry it—as long as You want me to…’
‘O Lord, I don’t know why You want me to carry this burden …’ Perhaps a basis for a personal prayer in our own lives. I have discovered in my life, and in reading Scripture, God does not always call the qualified—He qualifies those whom He calls—to accomplish His Will—in His time and in His way. In other words—if He can use an ant, think what our Lord can do with you and me.
Yet because of my flawed nature, I do not—and cannot—see the causes and effects of everything going on in my life—or readily accept them. But our Lord sees what we cannot and acts for those who seek Him. He works and no one can change it. He is faithful and all-powerful, when we are full of ourselves—and helpless.
So to get through, and to deal ably with life’s challenges, temptations and burdens—which are sure to come—remember and apply our Lord’s wisdom offered to Romans and Philippians—and to other troubled and sometimes blind souls who got off course: ‘I can do all things through Christ, Who strengthens me’ … fully convinced that God is able to do what He had promised’. The Psalmist chimes in: ‘I will instruct you and teach you the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you’ AND ‘I sought the LORD, and he answered me, and delivered me from all my fears.’
Remember God’s Word is rich and lacks nothing; it is the Word of life and removes doubt, weakness and burdens. Now try to remember a grateful Brenda McLain, who called upon our Lord in her day of trouble—and was delivered!
Mark Gade, for CtK e-newsletter