As we’ve been working through the Gospel According to Mark, we’ve discussed the power that a single encounter with another person can have in our lives. We asked some of our members to share what this has practically looked like in their own lives.
Would you believe me if I told you that I found Christ because of an auto-belay? I suppose it’d be useful to explain what that means. To climb up rock, you need a pair of sticky shoes, a rope, a harness, and most of all, a person to belay you and save your life should you fall off the rock. I loved rock climbing and chose to accept a job in Denver, where world-class rock climbing could be found a stone’s throw away.
One day, I was at the rock climbing gym sans partner and stuck climbing with the auto-belay, a device which clips to your harness and allows you to climb without a partner. Coincidentally, I kept running into a climber at the auto-belay stations who was also without a partner. I suggested to him that it could be more interesting to climb with a partner rather than each of us climbing with a machine. That was the first time I climbed with Drew, who is the completely opposite kind of climber than I am. Whereas I am a petite (aka short), very “balance-y” and technical climber with a very short reach, Drew climbs overhanging “power” climbs with a markedly extended reach because of his 6’4 height.
We discovered that we were both new to the Denver area and had a mutual climbing acquaintance, Doris. Coincidentally, Doris planned a climbing trip to Denver some months later, and had invited some local climbers to join her. That was the second time I met Drew. When Doris left, Drew and I continued to climb together and developed one of the most important friendships of my life. Over the next three years, we often discussed the challenges of life at the foot of a crag or in the car ride to various Colorado climbing sites. I always found Drew’s advice sound and I learned in those conversations about the central role Christ played in his life and that much of the wisdom he shared with me was gleaned from the Bible.
At some point, a crisis challenged me to critically assess the things that really mattered to me. I looked at all aspects of my life to try to understand what brought me to this crisis. I thought about my family and friends, and the people I love. I thought about my work and how it had brought me to Denver. I thought about miracles that I had witnessed and the beautiful things in my life that I under appreciated. And I thought about the pearls of wisdom Drew had shared with me in the past, the truths about our lives that the Bible teaches us. I began to realize that all of these events were never coincidental, they were orchestrated to bring me, mind and heart, to the conclusion that I needed Jesus in my life. Not too long after that moment, my friends Drew and his wife Andria stood with me at my baptism, celebrating the new story of my life.