Panic at Jenny Lake

by | May 20, 2007 | Hope, Prayer

The view was outstanding. Although we had just come from Banff, where we had spent eight days enjoying the splendor of the Canadian Rockies, the grandeur of the Grand Tetons before us blew us away. The long drive we had taken around Yellowstone Park to arrive here had definitely been worthwhile!

We stopped whenever we could to take pictures, and when we noticed a nearby lake, we decided to explore it as well. Perhaps some prize-winning pictures would be forthcoming! And sure enough, the lake was crystal clear, perfectly mirroring the magnificence of the grand peaks behind it.

A small boat took people for tours of the lake, but since exploring the lake’s shoreline was free of charge, we took that route instead. It was while we were strolling along one of the many stony beaches that I saw him. A boy in his early teens. Not an unusual sight, in itself; but what struck me as quite remarkable was that he was crying. Out loud! Now, there are at least two things you can count on with teens: They never feel cold, and they always resist the temptation to show any indication of their true emotions in public!

While I was pondering this oddity, my wife was hurrying his way. “Can I help you?” she called out.

“I-I . . .” But he was crying too hard to continue. It is amazing how crying can deplete your lungs of air! It was a few minutes before he could finally squeeze out: “I’m-I’m lo-lost!”

“It’s okay!” responded my wife, soothingly patting his arm. “We’ll help you!”

But the boy was still too frantic to speak.

“Here!” She put an arm around his shoulder and led him towards a large rock. “Sit down!” She patted the rock with her hand, and when he complied, she began rubbing his back. “Now, take your time!”

But the words were still too choked with sobs to be intelligible.

“I want you to take some deep breaths,” suggested my wife. “You need to calm down so that I can help you. There now! Breathe deeply!”

I stared at them in amazement. I was learning something. After spending the last sixteen years teaching kids the age of this boy, I had learned, among other things, that teenagers cannot get lost! They may go sightseeing for some reason, but they never get lost! In fact, my wife would say that in general, men are all like that as well! But here was a young teenage boy, admitting he was lost! Figure that one out!

But while I was busy intellectualizing it all, my wife slowly extracted the story. Apparently the boy’s parents had gone for a walk around the lake. He preferred to stay in the car and play some electronic games (Quite catchy at that age!), however when the vehicle’s temperature started to rise above the comfort zone, he decided he would join them for a stroll. But he hadn’t been able to find them, and now he couldn’t even remember where the car was parked.

My wife took her time consoling him, and once his emotions were back under control, we led him to the park’s ranger station. The rangers took over from here, and eventually the boy was reunited with his family.

The boy was very grateful for my wife’s help, but even more than that, my wife’s day was brightened because she had been able to make a difference for this boy. Isn’t it amazing how your day brightens when you can help someone out? It’s better than receiving a gift. And when you see someone who was in trouble finally start to smile, it makes you wonder why you don’t help others more often! Like on a minutely basis!

One lost soul found his way home, but how many others are lost and don’t even know it? Being lost from our Heavenly Father is the worst thing that can happen to anyone. Sin brought that separation, and with sin, we, as humans, soon began to go after our own sinful fantasies, forgetting about the One who really makes a difference in our life: “Your iniquities have separated you from your God…” (Isa 59:2 NIV)

One can quickly get lost in this planet of confusion and stress! A lot of people think they are beyond help. In all reality they are lost and don’t even know it. Lost from a broken relationship that never materialized with their Heavenly Father. However their Father in heaven never gives up hope on any of them. He patiently waits for them to call out for help: “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” (Rev 3:20 NIV)

One word from you and the Almighty God in heaven will come to you and become your best friend. Sin separated us from Him, but He paid the ultimate price for reconciliation to become possible: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16 NIV)

He wants to be your best friend as well. Will you let Him? “Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” (John 17:3 NIV)

What a privilege to indicate the way home to anyone lost out there! “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” (Rom 10:15 NIV) I wonder why more Christians don’t try to reach out to those who hunger to find their way home. Is it possible that they are lost themselves?

Are you lost beyond hope? No matter how lost you are, help is but a prayer away!

Rob Chaffart


Panic at Jenny Lake