Between A Rock And A Hard Place

“Good decisions come from experience, and experience comes from bad decisions.” ~Anonymous

     As far as I’m concerned, the phrase “desperate times call for desperate measures” is an understatement when it comes to Aron Ralston. I vaguely remembered hearing his story on the news, but I was never aware of the details until I watched 127 Hours, a movie based on his harrowing incident.

In 2003, Ralston, a highly-skilled mountain climber, had ventured alone through the cliffs and canyons of Bluejohn Canyon in Utah. No one knew where he was. And even though he’d crossed paths with two other climbers that day, he still decided to journey alone. Ralston wasn’t a rookie climber. In fact, he’d left his job as a mechanical engineer to pursue his passion of climbing mountains. But he’d still made…a decision.


      Of course there was no way he could’ve known that a suspended, 800-pound boulder that he found footing on would shift and dislodge, sending him slipping down one of the canyon walls. To make matters worse, his hand was crushed – pinned between the boulder and the wall.


      Over the next five days, the possibility of death tortured him. Ralston fought dehydration, hypothermia and delirium. The movie (which he says was very accurate) showed him treasuring the small sliver of April sunlight that crept between the crevices where he was lodged. Ralston reached a point where there were only two options – life or death. He etched his name, birthdate, and presumed date of death on the canyon wall and videotaped a last good-bye message to his family. But the next morning – the sixth day – he was still alive.


This time Ralston chose life, but by no means was it easy. He had to amputate his arm. It was a forty minute process using a two-inch knife. Through flesh, muscle, and bone he completed the excruciating process that freed him from the boulder. But Ralston still had to climb out of the canyon and start the 8-mile trek back to his vehicle. Miraculously, he encountered a family on vacation that gave him water and was able to alert authorities. It was a miracle that he didn’t bleed to death since help didn’t arrive until six hours after his amputation. I know nothing about Ralston’s religious convictions, but it’s obvious God was on his side.

In an interview following the incident, Ralston admitted his entrapment was a collective result of the decisions he’d made. Ultimately he was responsible for getting ‘in,’ so he had to take responsibility for getting himself ‘out.’

Even after his ordeal, Ralston continued to climb mountains. Can you believe it? Prior to Bluejohn Canyon he’d made a goal to climb all of Colorado’s mountains that had peaks over 14,000 feet. That’s hard for me to fathom. I chickened out during the middle of an indoor ropes course my husband and I decided to do when we were away celebrating our seventh wedding anniversary. It was only 36 feet (3 stories) off the ground. I was harnessed as I walked across the swinging steps and the tremor bridge. The bridge was shaking, and I was, too! Needless to say, scaling Colorado peaks are not on my list of things to accomplish in my lifetime. But Ralston went on to conquer all 55 peaks.

Although our situations are probably not as extreme as Ralston’s, we can all benefit from his revelations: Choose life. Take Responsibility. Do what you need to do. If you got ‘in,’ you can get ‘out.’ Make decisions that will help you reach new heights.


Stand On The Word

  • For each one shall bear his own load. – Galatians 6:5
  • I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live. – Deuteronomy 30:19
  • The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. – John 10:10
  • Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit. –Proverbs 18:21
  • For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. – James 2:26


Think It Out. Write It Out. Walk It Out.

  1. Have you made decisions that have trapped you? What collective decisions brought you to that point?
  2. You can’t change the past, but you can strive to do better in the future. In what areas of your life will you reach higher?
  3. Meditate on Hebrews 4:12 (For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart) and Psalm 119:105 (Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path). How can these scriptures be used to describe how we should use the word to gauge our decisions?

This devotion is taken from “If These Shoes Could Talk,” a 30-day devotion for a women’s daily walk of faith, written by Tia McCollors. Read more devotions like this by CLICKING HERE.

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