3-Week Series: Double Blessing

Sermon Illustrations

I came across a news story about a guy named Aron Ralston who was an avid hiker. Now I don’t know if this guy lived, slept, and ate hiking, but this guy was deeper into it than Jennifer and I are. We prefer the intermediate trails, but this guy the news story was about was into hiking hardcore. His version of hiking was getting away for the weekend and taking off for a hike of several miles through the mountains. One such outing, he chose to go to Blue John Canyon in SW Utah known for its beautiful yet barren landscape. Although he was an experienced hiker, he neglected one of the most important rules of hiking—he forgot to tell anybody where he was going and he wasn’t expected back at work for several days.

So Aron hiked a long and arduous day for around 7 miles through the canyon, often having to be more of a rock climber than a hiker as he made his way. He never expected a giant 800 pound boulder he was climbing over to shift and fall. He and the rock went crashing down, trapping his left arm under its merciless weight. Aron felt his hand eventually go numb and the pain eventually go away. But he was trapped, literally, between a rock and a hard place. He couldn’t budge the rock, and he couldn’t get his crushed arm out from under it. All kinds of thoughts raced through his head as he laid there trapped for five days!

He had a video camera with him and he was able to make a short tape for his parents to tell them goodbye in the hopes that someone would recover his body. He also had a pocket knife with him and he was able to carve into the stone that surrounded him his name and his dates: October 1975 – April 3 and the initials R.I.P. underneath. If only he had let someone else know where he was going that morning! Nonetheless, he had made peace with himself and had accepted his fate to die trapped under that 800 pound boulder. But Aron realized that he had one way out. That was to use his pocket knife to cut off his own left arm that was pinned under the boulder and try to hike the 7 miles back out of the canyon to his truck with what remained of his body. Aron amputated his arm with nothing more than a pocket knife and the will to survive and he made the hike and was even able to write a book about the incredibly difficult experience.