Mountain Top experience with God…er Bob

Ever wanted a literal mountain top experience with God? I was 25 years old and I sure did.
My spiritual life was flat, dry, cold, and I felt far far from God. I felt he was silent, absent….and I felt it was probably my fault that things were that way.
I got an idea…I’ll go find God. “I’ll get away and reconnect”, I told myself.
So I made a plan - I’d head up on my 1979 Yahama 750 XS to the mountains. I’d pack my Bible, my journal, my iPod and a spiritual help book, (I think it was something by Francis Chan)
On a bright and warm June Sunday morning, I skipped church and headed up towards Rocky Mountain National Park. The road was beautiful and dry, the sun glinting off the foothills. Where would I go exactly? I didn’t know, i felt like I was “letting God lead me” and envisioned some high corner of a ridge, worthy of Bob Ross, where I’d sit, and hear from God.
I zoomed up with a heavy but hopeful heart. I breezed through the entrance of the park and saw signs for some “overlook” so I followed the traffic. Would God meet me? Did he want to know me? The longing for that and the fear he wouldn’t burned inside my helmet as I rode further up.
Suddenly the road turned from asphalt to dirt. My road bike wasn’t the best fit for this, but i saw another bike (an all terrain BMW) a few cars ahead and I figured if he could do it so could I….beside it had to be a MOUNTAIN TOP experience right?
I grew more and more nervous of my ability as a rider as the dirt road turned into a one way switch back as it climbed up the side of the hill. “Well…I’m committed now…”
About half way up is when it happened.
While making the tight turn on this dirt road, my bike hit some loose dirt/sand and I laid the bike down, nothing more than a some scuffs on my gloves, but as traffic awkwardly waited for me to get to the small section on the side of the dirt trail, I looked down to see the clutch lever on the handlebars, the one that controlled my bike’s transmission had snapped right off…
I thought of several things in a few second:
  • My clutch was inoperable..
  • My bike was stuck in gear and therefore unpushable
  • It was a one way road
  • I had no clue how much further up it was
  • I was out of cell range
  • I was stuck and screwed.
As car after car passed me and panic welled up within me of what to do.
My heart unleashed an angry and hurt filled prayer towards God.
“God! I was trying to come up here to spend time with you! Why would you let this happen? What am I supposed to do now? Do I leave this bike and walk back to Denver?”
My heart was set on having my picturesque moment with God and things were not going according to plan…how was this like my life??
I stood there for I don’t know how long…a car, a van rolled by, then a big 4x4 with a trailer had to swing wide to get around me…and it stopped. The window rolled down and a man kindly asked if I was stuck. I confirmed and began to explain and he said, “hold up a second, I’ve got some tools in my back, let me head up and I’ll come back see what we can do”
An eternity later, walking down around the next switchback came a man in a green hat. “I’m Bob, Bob Horton”, he said with a southern drawl. Bob was up here from Mississippi for some livestock event.
Bob and I looked over my bike and found the clutch cable was intact, it just had nothing to pull it with the original lever being sheared off. “Hold on a second.” Bob said. And he walked up and out of site again. He came back down and had a pair of medium sized vice grips. Bob and I figured out a way for the vice grips to grab the cable, and wouldn’t you know it, they nestled in the little notch where the handle previous was almost perfectly.
This MacGyver situation just might work.
We tested it and sure enough, it looked like I could use the vice grips as a make shift clutch. I thanked Bob profusely, and admitted my embarrassment. He reassured he was happy to help and glad to get me on my way. With his business card in my hand, Bob headed off and so did I.
Finally on the mountain top, I got out my bible, iPod, and notebook, only in time for the clouds to come over, the wind to begin blowing hard, and some rain to start…Well, so much for that.
I started back down the mountain, full of anxiety on my “makeshift-shifter” and praying those sort of desperate sounding prayers, “Please just let me get home!” “please don’t let the clutch break and get me into a wreck!” Not exactly the flowery prayers I’d planned on uttering to “impress” God on this day.
I made it safely back to my home, still full of a little adrenaline and not a small amount of disappointment. It would be months later relating this to a friend that he commented, “wow, sounds like God really took care of you on that mountain…”
THEN it hit me, all these small, amazing, and nigh miraculous ways God had kept me safe, provided help, and got me home.
Having been so focused on how God was supposed to show up and how I was suppose to show up, I had totally missed how he did - in the kind graciousness of a pig farmer from Mississippi, in the face and hands of Bob.
I told Bob I’d mail him back his vice grips…I never did. I hope he didn’t mind, to this day they serve as a totem, a reminder for me of the unseen faithfulness and presence of God.
Nic Howe, RP Grove Member

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