Posted by: Kara Luker | September 2, 2022

Unexpected collapse

Last month, after stuffing our car with gear until it resembled a giant, bloated tick, we set off to join a few other families for a camping trip in Malibu. Only a couple hours later, we pulled into the beautiful loop that held our campsite. Nestled beneath a host of sycamore trees with a collection of hills on one side and the gleaming Pacific on the other, we were very excited to get settled and explore.

We were also excited to use our tent for the first time; one we had purchased right after a pre-pandemic visit to Yosemite in a small tent that had us feeling very cramped. We might have overreacted since we bought this enormous, twelve-person tent with three separate rooms for our very small family of two adults and one featherweight child. But our palatial abode was glorious and went up more quickly and smoothly than any tent we’ve ever used. We then filled it with air mattresses and comfy quilts. So much for roughing it!

Our mornings were spent hiking or mountain biking or just enjoying some quiet time at the campsite. Our afternoons were spent at the beach with the whole gang where we whiled away the hours talking and playing before heading back to camp to clean up and make dinner. Apart from the perpetual presence of yellow jackets and surprisingly strong gusts of wind, it was a pretty ideal getaway.

But one evening, just before dinner, John and Chase were in the tent getting changed when a particularly strong gust blew through, collapsing the whole expansive thing right on top of them. After extricating Chase and himself from the tent’s innards, John confirmed that one of the poles had snapped right at the joint, where it could not be taped back together. Not the best news, especially with a few nights of camping to go and no desire to leave so soon.

One of our friends – our own, personal MacGuyver – took a look, got a glimmer in his eye and said, “I have an idea.” After dinner, all four men in our group, as well as a helpful neighbor, hoisted up our tent by using paracord to tie it to the large sycamore branches above. We were overjoyed by this success and enabled to enjoy the rest of our trip, yet baffled by what went wrong in the first place.

Last week, John received the replacement pole he had ordered and spent a good bit of time getting it fixed and set up in our backyard. While we were assessing its soundness, we came across a warning label we had previously overlooked. It stated, “Secure the guylines to help prevent the tent from collapsing in inclement weather. Failure to do so may result in personal injury or property damage and may void the warranty.” 

When I looked up the definition of guyline, a word I’d never heard before, I found it to be “a rope or cord that ties a tent wall to the ground, serving as additional structural support to keep the tent body anchored into the ground and upright—especially important in inclement weather, like a rainstorm, snow, or heavy winds.” The Curated author adds, “If nothing else, you want a stable shelter!” Um, yes. Yes, I do.

So it turns out that we could have prevented the unfortunate collapse if we had taken this step. The good news is that we have guylines because they were actually included with the tent and we now understand their importance. So you’d better believe will use them whenever we set up… whether the wind is blowing or not, because you never know what’s coming.

This was a first for me in regards to camping, but I have had my life collapse on me more than once. Guess I missed (or disregarded) the warning label that God’s “guylines” were there to protect me from the gusts that would inevitably blow through. I’m not the quickest learner so it took me a long while to grasp this concept, leaving me to deal with fallout far more disastrous than a deflated tent in Malibu. But that’s okay because God is patient and so very kind. He was gracious enough to hoist me up while I was broken, all the while teaching me about how much more secure my life would be if I would stake my life into His love and truth. 

I finally got it. Thank God! Because I have faced some very big, very intense storms since then. And I am happy to report that not one has knocked me down. I am still standing, enjoying this beautiful life with the brilliant sun above and the winds that come and go. And I have no desire – or need – to head home early.

If you are feeling blown about by life’s storms, near collapse – or maybe already collapsed  – and bewildered about what went wrong, take heart. There’s nothing more the Lord wants than to teach, strengthen and protect you so that you can confidently inhabit your tent and have no fear of any wind or storm. If it takes a while to accept His help or learn to trust, that’s okay too. But believe me when I say it will be so worth it when you do!

Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. Matthew 7:24


  1. Poles break at the worst times. good thing it was not the middle of the night in a rain storm…that’s like life too. It’s a really good analogy to stake our lives on God’s truths.

    • So true… there could have been far worse moments for our pole to break! Definitely happens in life. Thanks so much for reading and commenting.

  2. As usual a wonderful story wonderfully written! Well done! But it made me decide if ever have the opportunity to camp again I think I’ll pass! Grateful for great memories with Ray and Lois and in Alaska for three years.

    • Haha thanks! And yeah, I’m pretty sure camping would not be your favorite thing at this point in time 🙂

  3. Thank you for an excellent post. I recognize you as someone acquainted with God’s grace and ways, and your writing as helpful to anyone who will listen!
    “To him who has ears to hear, let him hear”…!

    • Thank you for the kind comment!

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