INTRODUCTION: In a famous cemetery located at the base of the Matterhorn in the small mountain village of Zermatt Switzerland rests an epitaph, and on it reads, “I chose to climb.” And even though there are many other graves of fallen mountaineers alongside this particular one, what makes this memorial noteworthy is the simple message inscribed on it. While the words of the epitaph may appear to be simple at first glance…the depth of their meaning is not.
You see, unlike a majority of sports, mountain climbing and repelling are considered to be “extreme sports.” By definition, an “extreme sport” refers to those activities which generally expose the participant to high degrees of danger. In other words you don’t just jump into these kinds of activities without careful preparation. Generally preparation for mountain climbing and repelling can be broken down into three stages; however, it is important to note that the stages can and do overlap in places. “Careful preparation” first begins with a good base camp in which the place, time, and type of climb are established, and the necessary people involved are in place. After your base camp has been established, the second stage can be addressed which is the climbing stage, and from there…the summit. It is important to note that the base camp with its support will and should move forward in relation to the climber as details of the climb and people can and will change throughout the ascent. Essentials include a companion or companions, the right equipment, confidence, and most importantly…a Guide who knows the territory along with the Guide book!
Choosing to participate in an “extreme sport” such as these can be exciting and exhilarating, but what about those “extreme events” you don’t get to choose such as those that life throws at you? Life has been likened to an “extreme sport” at times, and in most cases you don’t get to choose whether you want to climb or which mountain you will climb, but what you can choose is how you will climb. In life your mountain could be marital problems, divorce, financial issues, a wayward child, it could be the loss of a loved one, or even an illness such as cancer…
The Bible is life’s ultimate Guide book, and the Lord our ultimate and all sufficient Guide. Every once in a great while, the Lord allows you the privilege of being able to watch a modern day Bible story being lived out up close and personal, and for those with eyes to see and ears to hear, it is truly a gift eternal. Experiences such as this are one way the Lord uses to call to a lost world that He is still who He says He is and will still do what He says He will do for a child who will wholly trust Him and let Him be God…no matter the cost. The story about to be shared is about just such a person as she faithfully recorded her majestic climb to the ultimate summit…and touched the face of God.
This particular noteworthy testimony involves a woman, chosen by God, by the name of Dana Thompson Finch. The testimony is noteworthy not because of who she was or what she did before the event (although this statement could be argued), but because of how Dana lived and trusted God through her greatest adversity; pointing others to God every step of the way. One might think that the way she had lived her life would have exempt her from such trauma, but it is very likely that it was the way she lived that actually qualified her in God’s eyes to be chosen for such a high calling. It is Scott, Cody, Wes, Luke, and Dana’s hearts desire that after reading and studying this journal, that others will come to know Christ and grow in their personal knowledge, love, and obedience to Him. By doing so, we would be better equipped to continue the legacy left by Dana as she trusted God’s faithfulness amid great difficulty. Dana let God be God without any stipulations. Her choices and actions will be noteworthy for eternity.
You Only Live Once…A life worth living is made one decision at a time.