Day 3 of our Quest was me climbing “White Butte”, which in my mind was symbolic of a climb to purity, and I did not know I would shed blood on that climb and become blood brothers with White Butte.
This special place actually took us into North Dakota. The butte is also on private property, it is not government owned. It caught my eye on a map because it was marked as the highest point in North Dakota. I always check out where the highest point of a state is, and when I saw the name “White Butte”, I knew I had to go there.
When we finally located it, thanks to GPS assistance, I was greatly surprised to find it actually looked white! I had hoped it would, but didn’t really expect it. I would be making this climb alone, just God and I. My Samurai sword, seen leaning on the gate in above picture, would be with me. (In case of rattlesnakes.) But also because God’s word is the sword of the Spirit, and I picture every devoted Christian as Samurai for Christ! We are warriors called to spiritual warfare, light verses darkness, truth verses lies, heaven verses hell. I believe in the warrior side of our spiritual life. There is discipline, sacrifice, and skill. There is training if we desire to be all we can be for God. My sword symbolized all of that to me, and I wanted it at my side. (It actually slides down my back.)
Turtle Faith Lady was perfectly content after her big climb up Bear Butte, to sit back in her lawn chair, drink soda, enjoy the view, and try to snap some pictures from a distance. So after taking the minivan as far as I dared up the side lane of a field, I got out on foot and headed for my encounter with a place I never been before. I would climb to a place God would show me, and I would worship, pray, and seek God for his great leading to come.
A white lane lay before me as I headed towards the great butte.
As I drew closer I saw a well worn path, easy to hike, headed towards my left and into the butte; so I went right, towards the white cliff walls not easy to climb. Something drew me like a homing beacon to a wall I couldn’t resist. Before I knew it I was well off the ground, Samurai sword slid down my back, and unknown territory pulling towards a high place I never been. It was a thrill and I was loving it.
It all was going very well until I came to my last handhold. I was suddenly stuck. I could find nothing to grab and pull upward! Everything around me wanted to break away! I was barely holding on and I could not go back. Going backwards is impossible. You can’t see the footholds you used to get up. You can’t see them, feel them, or find them. It’s as if they just disappear! As I realized the danger I was in, my heart began to race. Fear was a growing thing. A monster trying to eat me!
I had to get control. Control my breathing. Push back the fear of sliding downward out of control, my wife watching me fall, helpless to do a thing. She would struggle her way out there as quickly as possible, only to find me broken at the bottom. No one around to help. An ambulance likely very far away. It was as if I was more worried for her than myself. You see, her mother had passed away in her early fifties in just such a way.
My wife’s dad was working on the roof of their house. It was a very hot summer day. He fell off the roof. Her mom heard something. She found her husband lying broken on the drive. She managed to call an ambulance and then suddenly had a heart attack and died. My wife’s dad survived. It was a tragic day.
My breathing smoothed out, but how long could I hang on? I need something to dig with! My sword! Reaching backwards over my shoulder, the hilt of my sword was right there. It drew out smoothly, the blade flashed in the bright sun, and my wife suddenly knew something was wrong. I had been in that spot too long, and now I was pulling out my sword?
The sword was long and awkward for such a close up task. I dug as best I could at the hard crusty dirt. I thought I was being careful but in the blink of an eye, such a small slip and red blood began pouring from my thumb onto the white butte! Oh this is not going well I thought to myself, but at least I had a new hand hold in which I was able to get a firmer grip. I had bought me some time.
To be continued…