And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” Esther 4:14b NIV
Have you ever found yourself in exactly the right place at the right time? Have you been in a situation where if one or two decisions or circumstances changed, things might have turned out very differently? The biblical heroine Esther experienced just such a situation. She found herself unexpectedly elevated from humble beginnings to Queen of the most powerful kingdom in the world at the time. She also found herself in a position to save the lives of her entire race if she would only step out and intervene for them at great personal risk to herself.
Last month I unexpectedly found myself in the right place at the right time to make a real difference in a stranger’s life. Scottie and I had been climbing at Red Rock Canyon in Nevada for several days, and for our last day had planned a moderate multi-pitch in Black Velvet Canyon, high up in the mountains with a long approach.
We awoke to low hanging clouds and high winds and at the last minute decided to head to Calico Basin for some less committal climbs closer to the car in case we had to bail for weather. After climbing a super fun 5.7 I decided not to lead a 5.10 next to it because the area we were in was getting busy and there would have been a wait. As we were making our way to Dickies cliff we decided to take a short-cut that ended up being a long-cut and took an extra 20 min of scrambling down a boulder choked canyon. When we finally got to the wall I looked up just in time to see a climber struggling 30 feet up the cliff, and watched in horror as he fell, pulled his piece of protection, hit a ledge, bounced, and fell an additional 10 feet. As I ran to the scene, two thoughts slammed into my brain; 1) I’ve trained for this. 2) Jesus please don’t let this man die! When I arrived at the base of the wall about 15 seconds later, it was clear that the climber was seriously injured. His climbing partner quickly told me the injured man’s name was Greg. Greg was unresponsive, his breathing was extremely labored, and blood had begun to pool in his nostrils and ears. As I initiated care I quickly discovered his helmet was cracked at the base of his skull. This indicated a possible skull fracture. The next 45 minutes were a blur as I maintained control of Greg’s spine, and his climbing partner and I and several others monitored his condition and treated him for shock. Three times Greg stopped breathing for what seemed like an eternity but in reality was only 10 to 15 seconds. Each time I prayed aloud in the name of Jesus to spare this man’s life and help him breath, and miraculously he would begin to breath again.
By the time the medical professionals arrived, Greg was starting to wake up and had begun to mumble, but was still unresponsive. Greg was quickly evacuated from the scene and care-flighted to a nearby hospital. The first police officer on the scene who had to rappel out of a chopper to get there told me, “Thank you for following your training. I hope we got here in time.”
This story has a happy ending. After nearly a month in the hospital Greg has made an incredible recovery. His fractured skull is quickly healing, and the doctors are predicting he will have no permanent damage or impairments from the accident. I’ve also made a new friend who I hope to meet in person one day. I’m so thankful for my training and that God put me in exactly the right place at the right time to use it. I’m also thankful for answered prayer, and God’s continued work in Greg’s life.
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