The Pastor's Corner
“In my distress I called to the Lord; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him into his ears.”
It was winter in the North Fork area of the Flathead. A deep penetrating cold had settled over the quiet wilderness. Gone were the tourists and visitors of summer and now there remained just the few year-round residents or the occasional trapper that ventured into this pristine solitude.
Lavonne was one of those unique and special persons that regularly entered the area. Along with her husband, Ralph, she ran a trap line up the various creeks that creased the mountains and hills. This day she drove the family truck to an access site up a logging road with her young daughter Lonnetta along for the ride. Her other children were in school in town many miles away from the family trap line. Only Lonnetta who was still too young to attend school came with her as she covered this part of the trap line.
Dressed in heavy clothing, large boots and winter coat, Lavonne climbed out of the truck, leaving it running for Lonnetta who would remain in it while Lavonne hiked up the creek checking the traps.
Time passed as she worked her way through the trees, brush and undergrowth. Each trap required effort to locate and get to. At times, she had to cross the creek, which required great care to avoid falling in. Sometimes the ice was thick enough to walk on. Other times a log or rocks were used.
As Lavonne was making one of these crossings, she fell breaking through the ice and plunged over waist deep into the icy water. Frantically she tried to climb out but the water soaked her clothes and filled her boots making all her efforts a failure.
The stark realization filled her mind; she was going to die there in that icy stream, and not just her but most likely little Lonnetta who was sitting alone in the truck. For surely the gas would run out before anyone would realize they were stranded and eventually find their vehicle.
“Lord, save us!” she cried out in the freezing silence. Then suddenly she was lifted up and instantly she found herself standing upon the stream bank. Dazed but thrilled, she looked down at her boots and pants. That is when she realized they were dry. She was no longer wet or cold. God had just saved her from an icy death. Gratefully she hiked back to the truck and her awaiting daughter.
“Lonnetta,” she exclaimed as she climbed into the cab, “God has a special plan for our lives. Why else would He have saved them today?”
(A special thank you to Ralph Ertz for sharing this memory of Lavonne, his faithful wife.)