Jeff with his group in Nepal

By Jeff Gaura

It was November 3 in Nepal, November 2 in the USA. The group I was leading experienced a magnitude 6 earthquake during the night at the Machapuchere (Fishtail) base camp. The mountain is famous and ridiculously steep.

Perhaps two hours later, my group woke before sunrise to complete our weeklong trek to reach the Annapurna Basecamp. Only eight of the ten people were able to go, as one young woman was sick and experiencing acute mountain sickness. AMS kills people. The only remedy is to descend quickly. We were at an altitude of about 13,000 feet, and I needed to prioritize getting her down while the rest of my group went up. 

Two hours later, when it was light enough for me to escort her down the valley, I looked at the task in front of me. The valley was experiencing rockslides from the aftermath of the quake, and the rocks were falling into the ravine we were about to hike. It would take me, perhaps, a day and a half to get her to safety and all but a few moments of that hike would be in areas susceptible to landslides. 

“I got this.” I recognized the still, small voice as God’s.

I heard nothing else. That was enough. I had no uncertainty at any point over those next hours, as God repeatedly told me He had all of this in the palm of his hand, and I was part of that palm. He told me He had the young woman under his care, as well. When we safely reached the end of the valley, I closed my eyes and said a prayer.

“Thank you, Lord, for taking us through the valley of the shadow of death. Thank you for your rod and your staff. Indeed, they comforted me. Thank you that I did not fear any evil.”

We got back to Pokhara two days later, and there was another small earthquake. Yet, even when it was happening, I knew God still had me. He had just taken me through the valley, and I was at peace.

Of course, some of my conclusions were not correct. There was a symphonic response happening on the other side of the world to the evil that came and killed over 150 Nepalis in a matter of moments. But I wouldn’t know about its impact until I returned home. 

On November 2, the bank which held my wife’s and my joint assets from the sale of my business showed that 50% of the assets had been transferred out. A few days later, a cashier’s check of equal value was drawn against the account. The money vanished in an untraceable format. When I walked into my house at the end of a very long series of flights, my wife’s clothing was missing, and some furniture and wall decorations were gone. There was a change of address notification for my wife in the mail, but it failed to list her new address. There was a note from her saying the pool was broken, but she had made no effort to get any professional help to fix it. This last point about not seeking professional help became a theme. The next day, my inbox had messages from our cell phone provider saying her cell number was being transferred from the account. 

I had no clue. I didn’t see any of this coming. She played me like a violin, knowing how I would react, and she hit me when I was jetlagged and expecting to see her. My text message trail showed I reached out to her no less than three times during the hours before I came home. She didn’t tell me she wouldn’t be there until a couple of hours before I arrived. 

Well done on her behalf.  If the goal were to create shock and hurt, she would get the highest marks. Yet, my hurt and sense of victimhood was a secondary thought in my mind. I was taken back to Annapurna and the earthquake.

“I got this.”

God’s words after the earthquake came back to me. He was still sovereign in marital separation as he was during the hours after a deadly earthquake. He was in control of all of this. He knew this was happening, and He knew the intentions brewing in my wife’s heart long before the earthquake happened in Nepal. Even now, I see the earthquake was preparation for my return home. 

I was wrong in concluding I had passed through the valley of the shadow of death. Indeed, I am still in it. I send her kind texts every morning, but I have yet to speak to my wife about what I initially thought was a process. I now believe her well-crafted symphony was a part of a structured script. And, her strategy she was not overseen and implemented by a licensed Christian counselor with Mark 10:9 in his heart: “Therefore, what God has joined together, let no man put asunder.” It’s sort of like the pool repairs that didn’t happen. 

I revert to God’s word to me. He spoke the truth. He is my rock and my joy.

“I got this.”

Perhaps she is crying out for help. Of course, that is true. Her mother is dying a slow Alzheimer’s death and her father recently passed away. If she is looking to heal and mend, not actually lash out, I need to listen like never before in my life. But I could be very wrong in thinking this is a possibility. 

Perhaps she really is trying to end all things between us for all time and start a new life, independent of a spouse and caregiver in her old age. Burning another relationship to ashes during the loss of two others seems unwise, but I don’t know her justifications. I remain in the dark. She wrote me a letter and has agreed to read it out loud to me in the presence of our pastor soon. Regardless of the outcome, of what I discover is really going on inside her heart, I know the response.

“I got this.”

He will be there as we reconstruct our lives together or apart. Either way, I have faith in Him. He gave me a laboratory environment in which to trust Him before I came home and faced the real earthquake. I remain in the valley and still require His rod and his staff to comfort me.

On the last morning before we left the Annapurna region, we had to cross a very long and very high footbridge to reach the Jeep taking us back to Pokhara. I had walked it many times in the past. Below us was a river that flowed the way it had since before I was born. However, this time, the impact of the earthquake was visible. There had been a major landslide above the river. Now, there was a lake in the place where only a river flowed. A river remained, but it was only a fraction of what it used to be. The irrigation the river used to provide will no longer be as it was. However, a beautiful new lake was forming, and the waters were already taking shape. It lacked a name, but it needed one. It would be a new name and be in a new place where none had ever been. 

Exactly like my new relationship with my wife. 

Jeff Gaura is an athlete, adventurer and writer who uses his skills and passions to train other athletes, lead fellow adventurers on treks throughout the world, and encourage others through his non-fiction stories about his life events and learnings. You can learn more about Jeff and his work at