Sometimes God Is A Sherpa
In her most recent book, author Anne Lamott tells an interesting story about a guy who crashed his plane in the frozen tundra of a high mountain range.
The guy wakes up the next day in the hospital with a cast, and he's just as angry as he can be. The nurse that is caring for him, asks "Why are you angry, it was a miracle that you were saved?"
The guy bitterly replies, "It was no miracle, I sat there freezing in that wreckage, praying 'God help me!' What a joke. God didn't do anything to help me." The nurse shoots back, "But you were saved!"
"Yeah," the guy says, "Because some Sherpa came along."
I've heard other amusing stories like that before, including a rather famous one about a guy praying for God to save him as he awaited rescue on the roof of his house during a flood.
In that story, the guy seals his fate by refusing to be rescued every time someone shows up to do so, telling them that he doesn't need their help because God will save him.
I like the sherpa story better, for a number of reasons---not the least of which is that in that story the guy gets rescued, in spite of himself. Plus, I just like the word "sherpa," for some strange reason.
Maybe it's the fact that a sherpa is someone who knows the way to where you are heading and is able to navigate all the unfamiliar terrain with you. Or that a sherpa is someone who will carry your pack when you are falling down tired and can't do it yourself.
Or maybe even carry you when the time comes.
"Sometimes God sends a sherpa," is probably the next best sentence in this Devo. Or something like this, perhaps: "Sometimes God is a sherpa." Come to think of it, that's a whole lot better.
Have you ever had a time in your life when you were feeling lost, bruised, broken, in need of rescue, and calling out to God? I'll answer my own question... I know that you have because every single one of us has had one or more of those moments in our lives.
Sometimes in those moments, we might even be praying for a miraculous rescue, something that would amaze us, and restore our faith that God is still in the miracle business. We pray, longing to be right about our faith that God can still perform miracles.
And then the sherpa showed up.
Maybe the sherpa comes in the form of a friend, or a loved one. Maybe the sherpa is a complete stranger, who responds to our crisis. Maybe the sherpa is a co-worker, or a teacher, a pastor, or a confidant. The sherpa could be anybody.
What's important here is that they showed up and helped carry your load, and maybe even carried you. Or perhaps they said the very thing that made you want to get up and start moving again. Or they showed you the path forward, and you realized you weren't lost---that the way was there all along in front of you.
I am thinking about the people who have shown up for me when I have been lost. It's a long list of Divine visitations, embodied by ordinary people who did extraordinary things. And they appeared in moments when what I needed wasn't a miracle in the sort of magical sense that we envision such things...
What I needed was to know that God was close to me and that I wasn't alone.
If you are feeling as though you need some rescuing right about now, or maybe you feel lost and afraid. Maybe you even crash-landed, and are just sitting in the wreckage praying for a miracle.
Know this: You are not alone. Sometimes God is a sherpa.
There are people in your life willing to embody this for you, to show you just how true it is. Let them. The greatest miracles that we encounter in life often come to us in the people who care enough to help us up, and even carry us for a bit if need be.
May this be so for you today and every day and may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.