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A Lesson in Faith

Story ID:7994
Written by:Michael Timothy Smith (bio, link, contact, other stories)
Story type:Musings, Essays and Such
Location:Caldwell ID USA
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A Lesson in Faith

A Lesson in Faith

A Lesson in Faith

A Lesson in Faith

The cooler was packed. Ginny and I were ready to take our oldest grandson Seth on a day
trip to Bruneau, Idaho. It was a two hour drive. I was excited. Bruneau had two things I wanted
to see: the sand dunes and the canyon.

Two hours later, I watched Seth climb the highest sanddune in North America. He looked
like an ant at the top of the 470 foot dune. They were formed 11,000 years ago, during the last
ice age. Melting ice caused the Bonneville Flood. Massive amounts of water inundated parts of
southern Idaho and eastern Washington state. The flood is believed to be the second largest in
known geologic history. At Bruneau, there was an eddy, where the sand settled. The winds keep
the dunes stable.

We watched a senior couple fish in the lake at the base of the dunes. She got a bite. Her
rod bent deeply. Her husband stepped up to net the fish from the water, but the fish had other
plans. It wrapped the line around something under the water.

He took her rod and pulled, “You don’t have a fish. You’re hooked on the bottom.”

“No!” I said. “I saw the rod. It was wiggling. She definitely had a fish.”

He ignored me and pulled on the rod. It snapped in half. “You’re hooked on the bottom.”
He repeated and pulled the line until it snapped. “See! I told you. You were hooked on a branch
or something on the bottom.”

I pointed at the water. “I don’t think so. There’s her bobber.” It was a foot under the
surface and headed away from shore. “The fish is pulling it away.”

We left the dunes and headed to the canyon.

Twenty minutes later, we pulled onto a narrow road. “According to the directions, we
travel this road for 18.6 miles.” I said.

“Are you sure?” Ginny asked. “It doesn’t look like a tourist attraction to me.”

She was correct. The road took us across a flat desert plain. There was nothing in
sight but flat desert, sage brush and snowcapped mountains twenty miles away to the east and

I watched the odometer. “Only seventeen miles to go.”

“Stop it!” Ginny said.

A little later, “Sixteen to go.”



A little later, “Fifteen to go.”

“Michael, will you stop it?”

“Ok! Ok! I’m just trying to make this boring ride fun.”

We hit the six mile mark and saw a sign, “Warning! This road crosses US Air Force
Bombing Range. For the next 12 miles, objects may fall from aircraft.”

Ginny and I looked at each other nervously. “Are you sure we should continue?” She

“That’s what the directions say, so let’s go. If we get arrested, I’ll plead ignorance.
Everyone knows I do dumb things. We’ll have lots of people to back me up.”

We drove on. The paved road narrowed and turned to dirt. We were miles from
civilization – not even a rabbit in sight. I looked in my rearview mirror and watched the cloud of
dust we produced swirl in the wind.

I looked at the odometer. We were at 18.5 miles. “We should be there soon, Gin. We
only have a tenth of a mile to go. I don’t see a canyon. Do you?”

Before she could reply, we crossed a small rise in the road and there it was. Ginny,
braced her feet on the dash, “Stop!”

I stopped and stared. “Oh my gosh! Would you look at that?” Below us, the canyon
appeared as if the desert had split in half. “I see the parking area down there.”

We rolled down the hill. I pulled up to the fence. Ginny braced her feet against the
dash again. “Stop!”

I stopped, but realized I could pull up a few more feet. I did. Ginny whirled at me like
a demon. He shoes dented the plastic on the dash above the glove compartment. “I said stop!”

I stopped.

We stood at the fence protecting us from an 800 foot fall and enjoyed a view we never
believed possible. A ten inch lizard hung face down on the fence post and shared the view with

The canyon was only 1200 feet across at this lookout. The contours and color of the
rock, the roaring river far below us and the beauty of what nature created amazed us.

How often have I gone down lonely roads
and wondered where I was? Was I on the
right path? How many times have I felt like life was throwing things from the sky – trying to
knock me down? Like the fish who got away, many of my dreams did the same

Life is tough, but at the end of the line, the Lord promises us more joy and beauty than
we can imagine. I now know what it means.

Our trip was a lesson in history and a lesson in faith.

Michael T. Smith