In case you haven’t heard, there’s a new sensation sweeping the nation. Well,maybe not the nation… maybe just Falls Creek. Hill bombing seems to be all the rage. Everywhere I look, I see kids running full speed down the steepest hills just to see if they can make it to the bottom without falling.
A few days ago, I was out for my evening run/walk when I came up behind a group of girls that were nearing the top of a very steep hill, the one behind the skate park that leads to Hollis’s cabin, for those of you who are familiar with Falls Creek. They were in a huddle making plans, their dark heads an umbrella over their close faces.
Suddenly, the tallest girl broke away from the pack.
“I’m going!” she announced, and, without looking back, she began a sprint down the hill.
Two of the other girls followed immediately, but one hung back for two or three seconds before beginning her hesitant descent.
At first, the girls screamed with delight, reveling in their youth and flexibility. It made my knees hurt just to watch.
Then came the moment I knew would come. Their little legs couldn’t keep up. Like parachutes opening, skinny little arms flew out from the sides of each girl, and they began to windmill.
Fearing the worst, I closed one eye in a half-wince and prayed they wouldn’t fall.
Happy screaming stopped. Frantic screaming ensued.
Half-way down the hill, it seemed the first girl was a goner. Bracing for impact, she turned her head to the side as her body began to lean forward.
I stopped running and wondered where we kept our First Aid kit.
Just before the first girl lost her footing, she stopped struggling and threw her arms out behind her in a desperate attempt to right herself. In half-second splits, the other girls did the same. Miraculously, thirty feet or so from the bottom of the incline, the girls began to recover. Regaining their balance one by one, they righted themselves and rode the last fifteen to twenty feet out in a semi-relaxed state as if riding in on a rail.
“Weeeeee!” the first girl shouted with abandon.
“Weee!” the next two repeated.
“This is Amaaaaziiiiing!” the last girl cried at full volume, dark hair billowing out behind her like bed sheets hung to dry.
Relieved for them, I resumed my halted, forty-two-year-old gait and reached the bottom of the hill just as the girls broke from a giggly group hug, their dark eyes wide with adrenaline and the thrill of victory.
As I continued my run/walk (Todd calls them intervals. I call them do-what-you-cans!), I wondered what other exciting things might have happened to those girls at camp. Had they come to know Jesus? Had they grown in their faith and learned to trust Him more than they did before? If so, then I knew they had experienced a thrill even greater than hill bombing.
There’s nothing quite like the peace and anticipation that follow a new believer’s decision to follow Christ. I remember it very well, and I was very young when I became a Christian. I also remember the panic that I felt when I was much older and the enemy tried to keep me from growing in my faith.
Like gravity, the devil pulled at me, slowing my progress. Confused, I did what comes naturally to most of us. I resisted in my own strength and began to flail my arms. Grasping for stability, I took hold of the empty support offered by the enemy and found it lacking.
Then, just when soul-scraping, mug-marring defeat seemed inevitable, I had no choice but to let go and lean in to God, trusting Him for the outcome and, quite literally, my life. You know what? That’s where I found freedom. That’s where I found the adventure I’d been craving. That’s where I experienced the heart-pumping thrill of living in complete and utter dependence on my Savior.
Now, I won’t pretend that I never again tried to bomb one of life’s hills on my own. I did. I’ve got the scars to prove it. However, I will say this. When I have allowed Him to sustain me, God has never let me fall. Over and over, He has proven Himself to be faithful, strong, and able.
I truly hope that the girls I saw had a great week at camp. I hope they drank Icees, swam to their hearts’ content, and told secrets in the dark, but I pray, above all, that they experienced the thrill of surrender and victory in Christ. Lord, may it be the new sensation that sweeps our nation!