Imagine being 82 years-old and having to abruptly leave your home, climb down a mountain in the dark, and flee from approaching wildfires. That’s exactly what happened to Robert and Daryl Hullander as they barely escaped the wildfires in Gatlinburg, TN. The Hullanders, who have been married 57 years, survived one of the worst disasters in the history of Tennessee with only minor cuts and bruises.
Fire crossing the road made escape by car impossible, so the Hullanders walked in darkness, feeling their way down the mountain, holding on to any tree they could find. The Hullander’s later said that once they began their descent, they were able to remain calm, and didn’t give in to panic or fear. Mr. Hullander kept repeating to his wife, “You put one foot in front of the other and you just keep on going. And if you fall, get up and keep on going.”
As I read the story of the Hullanders, I couldn’t help but see some spiritual applications. Consider these spiritual truths that are illustrated by the Hullander’s experience.
- Hold on to “things” loosely. The Hullanders had to leave behind everything they owned in order to survive. Don’t allow materialism to weigh you down on your life’s journey.
- The events that transpire in our lives may not be what we would have chosen for ourselves, but we can still reach our destination.
- Do whatever it takes to reach your goal, no matter how difficult. It will be worth it.
- You may fall, but when you do, don’t stay down. Get up and get back on track.
- Find things to hold on to that can give you support.
- Focusing on your goal will help calm your fears.
- Take the hand of another and make the journey together. (Hebrews 13:5-6)
Be with me, Lord–I cannot live without Thee,
I dare not try to take one step alone.
I cannot bear the loads of life, unaided,
I need Thy strength to lean myself upon.
Be with me Lord, when loneliness o’er-takes me,
When I must weep amid the fires of pain,
And when shall come the hour of “my departure”
For “worlds unknown,” O Lord, be with me then.
We all have times in life when we feel as though the fires of pain and heartache will overtake us. When this happens, don’t allow ourselves to be so overwhelmed with fear that we lose sight of our destination. Remember the courage and determination of the Hullanders.