Nature Outing

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God Lifts our Burdens

Story by husband Ron

Events in 1977

I wish you could have all been along that afternoon in southern Mexico. It was a beautiful day and there is nothing better than a good lunch and then a nature hike after church.

My wife and I were in the middle of a year of volunteer work in Villahermosa, Tabasco, Mexico. We had driven an old Chevy Nova down there, so we were able to occasionally get away. We had found some other young 'gringos' up in the mountains of Chiapas and spent most of our available weekends with them.

This time, we went with them to a church that they had helped to build. It was in a very pretty mountain valley. It seated about 300 people and was a great new addition to the local ministry. While they had been there with the building project, they had found this place to hike and wanted to show it to us.

We parked at the end of a road and started off over a flat area. Being the nosy naturalist that I am, I soon found a flat rock to turn over. Under it was a mother scorpion with a back full of tiny babies. She looked like a little wind-up toy. She scuttled around looking for cover.

Soon we came to the edge of a deep ravine. At one end of the ravine was a waterfall. There was about a quarter mile where the river ran fairly level and then went over another waterfall. It was a perfect place to explore.

On the steep climb down the ravine, it was amazing to see that this side of the steep bank was actually a farm. It was so steep that if you stood straight up, you could almost touch the ground just by stretching out your hand. But, the hard working farmers had cleared it and had planted corn there.

When we got to the river, it was plain to see that the good exploring was on the other side of the river. There was a place where there was a rock about six feet tall. At the base of the rock, the river was pressed into a narrow channel. At that point we were able to jump across.

On the other side, there was a large flat bedrock area. On the edge of it the other side of the ravine was a steep cliff. It was covered with trees, moss and ferns. In the trees and rocks were orchids and bromeliads. It was an amazing place.

There were also many large yellow and brown butterflies. They were flying all over the area. The waterfall had a fairly large grotto that had been carved out under it behind the water. I later found out that there were hundreds of the butterflies hanging upside down from the roof of that grotto.

We spent several hours there enjoying the nature. Then it was time to get back across the river. It was at that point that I found out that the only way back was a narrow path at the back of the grotto.

At the far end of that path, the roof of the grotto came down within about 3 feet of the path. One one side of the path was solid rock. The other side was a thick wall of brush and small trees.

The big problem is that I am a lot bigger than the people that normally use that path! I'm about 6'3". I had a friend that also worked at the hospital. He was an average Mexican size. When we walked around together, the people called him David and they called me Goliath!

When I came to that low spot, I had to get down to a low crawl. I was the last one through. I got down as far as I could and got through there.


When I came out the other side, my wife took one look at me and asked me, "What happened?"

I was very pale and very shaky. It was obvious just by looking at me that something had affected me terribly. What had happened is that when I passed a particularly low spot, I had brushed up against the overhanging rock with my back. Then, when I came down lower again, the rock came with me!

I can't remember a moment of greater panic! I was at the bottom of a tall cliff of rock and I could just imagine the whole cliff coming down on top of me. You can imagine that I immediately shook that rock off my back as fast as I could. The rest of the track went bye in a blur and I was out!

I've thought about that afternoon often since then. For several reasons...

It is a pleasure to remember the beautiful time that we had there enjoying the beauties of nature that God created for us to enjoy.

I also remember the feeling of that large rock coming down on my back. That has made me think of the way the Bible describes the load of sin that we each carry. If only I had the sense of urgency to get rid of the sin - the same sense of urgency that I had getting rid of that rock!

How fast would I be running to the cross, crying for God to take my burden of sin if I was sensitive to my need.

I pray that we will be less willing to carry our sins around. The cliff of sin above us is ready to crush us. We must get out from under it or it will kill us. Let's pray that we are not content to carry that burden around any longer.


Ron McCluskey