when I was a freshman in college (1992) I was with a group of guys who had
traveled to Northern Alabama to a state park in the mountains. An unusually
sizable amount of snow had fallen which made the mountains beautiful and enchanting.
The Saturday afternoon during the retreat a group of guys decided to take
a short hike to the top of a nearby ridge. Although the trails were well marked,
and we left in plenty of sunlight, it began to get dark as we were descending
the mountain. Being from Alabama, none of us were appropriately dressed for
extremely cold winter nights. People in Alabama probably don't know what parkas
are. I know I wasn't sure this winter when I moved to New York. We didn't
really have heavy coats on, and several guys began getting cold.
At first nobody was that concerned because we felt confident we could find the way down to our cabins. However, as darkness set in, we became completely lost in a frozen mountainside. We couldn't even find the trail, and one guy poorly dressed started to get frostbite. This was an evangelical group, but not a particularly charismatic group of guys. They weren't big on signs and wonders -very intellectual. Hopelessness began to set in, and we knew there was silence throughout the park.
We stumbled across a dirt roadway that we felt was probably not being used. The leader of our group eventually, after great desperation, had the frazzled freezing group stop for a very simple prayer. He prayed very simply, "God we know that even now you could have a park ranger come and pick us up." But, none of us really believed that was going to ever happen. Within five or ten minutes after this very simple prayer headlights approached the freezing group. A park ranger pulled up and had us all pile in his jeep. I know that I was amazed, and I am pretty sure we all were. This was a great lesson to me, and all of us, on God's ability to answer prayer for His children in times of great need. It strengthened my faith in a powerful way, and really shocked the guy who prayed it, because he more than most of us would not typically think of God answering so specifically, so quickly. I believe the Holy Spirit dropped those words into his mouth, knowing what we needed, and God wanted to happen. I think God orchestrated the whole thing to show our little group that He was very real, and totally capable of meeting our every need.