A woman was taking pictures near Mather Point in the Grand Canyon last week. She had been hiking off-trail near the famed lookout point with her family.
Then she accidentally stepped off the edge while trying to take a photo and fell one hundred feet to her death. Her body was recovered Friday afternoon.
The Grand Canyon can be deadly in other ways as well. Last month, a forty-nine-year-old woman died of apparent heat-related causes while hiking in 114-degree temperatures. The park said summer temperatures can reach 120 degrees in the shade.
About a dozen people die each year at the Grand Canyon, according to reports. Common causes include aircraft crashes, falls, heat, and drowning. The Canyon has been ranked America’s third-deadliest park, behind the Lake Mead National Recreation Area in Nevada and Yosemite National Park in California.
Beauty and danger often go together. Present safety is no guarantee of future security. In these days filled with pandemic fears and suffering, we should acknowledge this obvious fact: We are all one step from eternity.
That’s why we need to follow today the only Guide who can see tomorrow.
The fact of mortality and hope of eternity
As Joshua prepared to lead the people of Israel into the Promised Land, their future was very much in doubt. Moses, the man who led them miraculously out of Egyptian slavery, across the Red Sea, and through four decades in the wilderness, had died. His young protégé was now their leader. The people were going to risk their lives, their families, and their future on his leadership.
To lead Joshua to lead them, the Lord gave him this injunction: “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success” (Joshua 1:8).
A person who follows God is a person others can follow. The leaders of the people responded to Joshua’s call to arms: “Just as we obeyed Moses in all things, so we will obey you. Only may the Lord your God be with you, as he was with Moses!” (v. 17).
Are you meditating on God’s word “day and night”? Are you following God so fully that those you influence can follow him by following you?
I don’t know when we will die or Jesus will return, but I know this: we are one day closer to eternity than ever before. And we have only this day to be ready.