“He will not let your foot slip — He who watches over you will not slumber.” — Psalm 121:3
The Tokyo Olympics are scheduled to feature the debut of several sports, as well as the return of some others. One of the sports making its first appearance is rock climbing. Comprised of three separate disciplines, athletes will compete for medals for the first time, challenging themselves to great heights in something that has largely been seen as merely recreational up to this point.
I’m not one to have ever tried this sport or followed it, but I have been thinking of it a lot lately as it relates to the Christian life.
One of the keys to successful rock climbing is proper equipment and trustworthy help. You need to have faith in the harness you’re wearing and the person helping to anchor you as you climb. To hold you firm so you can focus on the next step without fear of having the equipment give way or the person letting go. This is one reason why, when some daredevils in the sport take to climbing solo and without equipment, they do so at greater personal risk than those who don’t. One slip of the foot or the hands, and it is over. Going properly prepared is essential and assures far better safety than going it alone.
For the believer, God has already outfitted us with everything we need to survive the climb called life. He has equipped us with Scripture and given us the Holy Spirit to guide and direct us as we go. And He is the anchor, holding us firm so that we can safely proceed and never worry about falling to our demise. This doesn’t mean, however, that we won’t have fear. And it certainly doesn’t mean there won’t be times when we feel too weak to climb at all, and must take a moment to sit back in the harness and regain our composure.
Charles Spurgeon, a great preacher in England in the 1800s, once remarked that there are times in the Christian life when we can “run along the walls of salvation with triumphant faith” and there are times when we can walk “even through the valley of the shadow of death with quiet confidence,” but there are also times when we come upon a place of such trial and suffering that all speed fails us and strength sells us short. Here, in this place of weakness, we find ourselves crying out, “Lord, let my knee find a resting place, let my hand hold on to some projecting crag of promise, that there I may get a fast hold, lest I totter and fall. I can but ascend slowly … Lord, help me! Help me to climb this way, for back I cannot go.” Spurgeon says that, in this time of seemingly little progress, it is enough for the Christian “if he can hold his ground against the desperate difficulties of his path.”
Perhaps this is you. If so, take heart that your cries for help are heard and will be answered. God will not leave you hanging but will grant you strength and grace to keep moving forward, one little foothold at a time.
— Katherine Singer
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