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  • Eric Kampmann

An Answered Prayer

My eyes are dim with grief. I call to you, O Lord, every day;

I spread out my hands to you... But I cry to you for help,

O Lord; in the morning my prayer comes before you.

—Psalm 88:9, 13

Arthur, my sixteen-year-old son, and I were fifteen miles into an eighteen-mile day on the Appalachian Trail in Pennsylvania. We started early that morning in the small river town of Duncannon. We crossed the Susquehanna on a well-travelled bridge, ascended a moderate ridge, and then began the long, rocky trek north. The temperature was mild for August, but the long miles began to wear us down.

A few days before we started out on this journey, I had arranged to have a “trail angel” pick us up at an isolated road crossing in an isolated section of state forestland, as we would need a ride back to Duncannon when we finished. But as the miles passed by and it became time to call to connect with our ride, the phone failed. The day was drawing to a close, and my heart began to sink as we descended toward the road crossing.

Would we have to spend an uncomfortable night in the woods, or worse, would we be forced to walk back? It is in moments like this that we realize the extent of our own vulnerability. We were completely dependent on the good will of strangers. But as we approached the road, I began to hear voices. Like a guardian angel, the stranger and his wife had kept their appointment. Just as the cloud of anxiety had dominated my mood for a number of miles, now with the knowledge that we were saved from a variety of unpleasant outcomes, a wave of gratitude and joy flooded into my heart. At that moment, I felt a small touch of God’s goodness, and I could say with all my heart that Arthur and I were blessed by the goodness of two “Trail Angels."

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