An incident during an anniversary trip to St. John in the US Virgin Islands clearly illustrated to me how God’s strength wraps around our weakness to carry us through times of difficulty.

The majority of the trip was glorious! We hiked and snorkeled and relaxed on the beach.

But one particular hike was more challenging that expected. The Ram Head Trail switches it’s way back and forth up a saddleback hill to the high, southern-most point of the island. Our tour book described it as a “steep, narrow, and slippery path, which can be tricky.”

However, since Wayne and I have done a lot of hiking, we felt confident we could manage this trail without a problem. We had plenty of water, snacks, and sunscreen. We both had sturdy hiking boots – at least we thought we did.

That last sentence needs a bit of explanation. Even though we have done lots of hiking, it had been quite a few years since I’d gone. My good hiking boots had been sitting unused in the closet. Wayne encouraged me to buy some new ones. But I tried mine on and they still fit and felt great. “No need!,” I had insisted.

Big mistake.

Just before we started up the steep part of the trail, my right boot began to feel strange. When I examined it, I discovered the sole had come loose from the boot at the heel. With every step the sole flopped against the ground.

Wayne pulled a small bungee cord out of his backpack and we used it to keep the sole tight against my heel. And it worked! For about 50 yards. Then the front of the sole released its grip on the toe of my boot.

Wayne didn’t have any more cords in his pack, but he did find a piece of thin nylon rope right on the trial. We fastened that around my toe and started back up the trial. Although the sole slipped around a bit, it allowed me to walk without any trouble.

Shoe 1 editedThen about 30 yards from the summit, the inevitable happened. The sole on my left boot came completely off. I picked it up and carried it the rest of the way to the top. With only a thin layer of fabric between the sole of my foot and the rocky trail, those last few yards were painful.

When I arrived, I plopped down on a large rock. Wayne wandered around taking photos. How I was going to get back down the trail?

How would I go on?

“Wish I hadn’t left my sport sandals in the jeep,” I complained out loud.

“I’ve got mine,” Wayne offered. “Do you think you could wear them?”

Of course they didn’t fit my feet, but they did fit nicely over what was left of my boots. I tightened the Velcro straps as snug as possible and down the trail we went. The lug soles gave me all the grip I needed on the rocky path. And they stayed put!

shoes 2My feet did look pretty strange. The few hikers we passed on the way down gave me weird looks. And it wasn’t my imagination. But Wayne’s sandals protected my feet and got me safely to the bottom.

Sometimes our lives are like that trail. The going gets steep and things start falling apart. We may even wonder how we’ll go on. But we don’t have to do it alone. God is always with us. God’s strength carries us.

He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak… Those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.  Isaiah 40:28-31.

God’s strength wraps around our weakness. He protects our tender places. When we cannot go on, He carries us. His strength. His protection. His loving care.

When was the last time God gave you His strength? Do you need His strength today?

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