Tethered with ChristSunday, April 08, 2012
Several years ago, during a weekend conference in the beautiful Sierra Mountains outside of Yosemite National Park, I surprised myself by signing up for the high ropes course. I had never done anything remotely like that since the tree climbing days of my childhood. But, I figured that being secured in the safety harness would remove my fear once I was above the ground. So, I boldly joined the other women already on their way to test their courage.
There were several different segments of the course beginning with a climbing wall. I made it to the top and back down without incident. My confidence grew as I traversed the ropes without faltering. But then…I got to the “Poles”. At first glance, they seemed innocent enough – three straight, telephone-like poles standing side by side reaching 35 feet up into the air. The guide strapped me in the harness, gave me instructions and up I went, hand over hand until I reached the top. The idea was that once the climber reached the top of the pole, she was to somehow maneuver herself so she was standing on top of it. Well, that is easier said than done! However, after some creative stretching, twisting and reaching, I managed to hoist myself to the “summit”.
Standing tall, I proudly surveyed the surrounding area. The trees looked beautiful from this vantage point and the cloudless sky seemed almost close enough to touch. I was pleased with my accomplishment. But then, after hearing the cheers from my friends on the ground, I made a mistake and looked down. Anxiety immediately hit me as the realization of my situation grew…My next step was to jump off! The guide encouraged me to simply take a breath, leap out into the air and grab a trapeze that was there for just that purpose. Fear gripped me in a way I had never experienced and I froze. My stomach churned and my arms hung heavily and motionless at my sides. My head told me that it was safe to jump, but my body wouldn’t obey. I knew that the harness and its tether would keep me from crashing to the ground 35 feet below, but in my fear, I couldn’t move.
How often do we experience similar situations in our walk with Christ? As we come to know Him, our excitement and enthusiasm grows. The newness of our understanding of His love for us fills us with joy and our thankfulness for His gift of salvation makes our hearts long to serve Him. But, often, there are barriers that hold us back. We may think we aren’t talented enough, smart enough or young enough. We may compare ourselves to others we see already serving Him and think, “What do I have to offer when that person is so much more equipped than I am?” Sometimes the memory of our life before we were Christians or our failures since hinders us. What is the common thread? Fear. Fear of rejection, fear of failure, and fear of man. But, we need to remember that when God is with us, we can put aside our fears. “The LORD is my helper, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me?” (Hebrews 13:6). God is faithful and we can trust Him to help us as we seek to follow Him.
God created us to serve Him. We may not even be aware of how or where He wants to use us, but when we step out in faith, offering ourselves to Him, He will hold us up. When we look to Christ for our strength, He is our harness, keeping us securely in His grip. “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).
And what happened regarding my predicament on top of the 35 foot pole? Rather than staying where I was, frozen in my fear and embarrassment, I took that leap of faith! Instead of depending on my own strength and my own abilities, I relied on the tether which was holding me fast. As I leapt out into the air, the wind rushing past my face, exhilaration hit me as the meaning behind that exercise was made clear. I discovered in that moment, that freedom from fear comes when we place our trust in the Lord.
Living for Him,
Or, if you choose, you may leave a comment on my post to tell of the beauty you have found in His hands. Be sure to visit some of the other inspirational sites linked up and be encouraged today!