I used to ask God to take away my problems. I liked staying in my “safe” bubble and tried to avoid anything that would make me feel uncomfortable. Now I realize that running away doesn’t get me anywhere. As a child of God, shouldn’t I ask my Heavenly Daddy to help me climb over the hardships in my life?
Last month at Ontario Pioneer Camp, I stepped out of my comfort zone. My friend Catherine convinced me that we should go on high ropes together.
This is what high ropes looks like:
Image taken from: Ontario Pioneer Camp
Oh wait. Not really. The guy in the photo is too happy.
High ropes looks more like this:
Snapshot from the Theme Park Worldwide YouTube Channel. Not fun. Not fun.
“Okay are you ready?” Catherine grinned under her helmet as my sweaty palms gripped the wooden panel.
Right when I gave the okay, Catherine started climbing up the circular wooden frames like a crazy monkey. I couldn’t keep up with her pace. She was already halfway up the obstacle course while I was struggling to get my short legs over the bottom structure.
“I can’t do this,” I grumbled to myself. If it weren’t for my spotters cheering me on from the ground, I wouldn’t have kept on going.
After ten minutes of self-coaching and short bursts of climbing, I finally reached the sides of the highest structure where Catherine was waiting for me. I felt my arms tiring out and my hands giving way. I didn’t think I had the strength to hoist myself up and over the final block.
“I- I’m not sure if I can do it!” I gasped. This time I really didn’t think I could do it. Catherine peered down and extended her hand.
“Yes, you can.” She stated firmly. “Grab my hand. Have you heard of a circus grip?”
A circus grip looks like this:
Overly dramatic image of a circus grip
“Are you ready?” Catherine said holding onto my forearm. “On the count of two. One. Two.”
As I pushed myself upwards, Catherine pulled me up with her strong arm. My spotters pulled at the ropes, hoisting me higher and higher. They cheered me on until I finally reached the top of the obstacle course. I found myself shaking, but beaming next to Catherine.
“I knew you could do it,” she said. “We did it!”
While I was signing my name on the top wooden structure, I had a moment of awe. I realized that God was teaching me fundamental life lessons:
1) God allows us to grow through challenges that are seemingly impossible to conquer.
“Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.’”
Looking down from the top of the ropes, I couldn’t believe that I had completed an obstacle course that seemed daunting at first! While climbing, there were moments where I thought my physical strength would fail. But, with Catherine’s helping hand, she enabled me to get to the end.
Just as Catherine and I conquered the ropes together, everyone one of us can conquer impossible challenges with God. Just as I needed Catherine’s helping hand, we need Jesus as our best friend to give us a helping hand and pull us up out of trouble.
Another thing I realized is that there’s fruit that comes from going through hard times with God: it’s only through hardship where we will have the opportunity to grow in character, and most importantly, in our relationship with God.
2) God will never let go of us.
“My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever.”
With a circus grip, if you let go, your partner can still hang on to your arm. They won’t let you fall and God does the same with us. Even when we are ready to give up on ourselves, no matter what He holds onto us faithfully. We may grow tired and weary, but the strength He provides for us remains.
3) God surrounds us with a community that can help us through troubles and celebrate with us once we’ve overcome hardship.
“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”
1 Thessalonians 5:11
The spotters had a different perspective on the ground. Even though I didn’t think I could make it, they were able to see how close I was to finishing the obstacle course. Throughout the climbing process, they watched my every move and modified the length of my ropes to help me get further up. My spotters cheered me on and shouted out encouragements when I was ready to let go.
Community is a wonderful gift from God that does the same. Friends, mentors, and family members will support us in ways that we wouldn’t be able to do on our own. They have an outside perspective of the situations we are in. They can give us prayers, advice and comfort that we need. We were made not only to have a personal relationship with God, but to also share this relationship with community.
Application: In my sheltered city life, the highest place I’ll ever be is in an elevator. Even though I won’t be faced with physical high ropes, I’ll still encounter figurative high ropes in my life that appear impossible to climb. My question for you and me is this:
Is there a difficult area in your life where God is calling you to climb? How will you respond to God’s calling?