For our son Jacob’s birthday, a few years ago, we took him to one of the ‘Go Ape’ parks in the Lake District. Have you ever seen one of these places? - Huge high tightropes suspended between trees and people from all ages strapped in harnesses, risking their lives!
For someone like me who doesn’t even cope too well with going up a ladder, this is not the kind of place I associate with ‘fun’, but somehow or another I found myself that day strapped in a harness, navigating a ridiculous assault course, high in the trees in the Lakes. All around me little children were swinging around like monkeys, and there I was, a forty-year old woman, holding the line up because I was clinging for dear life to the tree!
It took me a long time, but, with a lot of huffing and puffing, I got towards the end of the assault course, and the finish line was in sight. As I stood on the deck, ready for the next challenge, all my dregs of courage slipped away, as I saw what I was expected to do. From the tree, from which I stood, there was no tightrope to navigate to the other side – only a giant ball, hanging from a rope. Our son Ben had somehow got himself across, and, from the other side of this abyss, was shouting “just jump on the ball Mum, and swing across!”
Behind me there was a queue of children and adults waiting, everyone was watching, and there was no other way down. I was stuck. I had no choice. I had to do it. I shut my eyes, and leapt for the ball. As expected, I completely missed the ball, and found myself dangling completely ungracefully from my harness in the middle of the forest. Everyone around me burst out laughing. My family were howling with laughter. I cried with laughter. I couldn’t move. I was hanging from a harness in the forest, and all I could do was wait for the instructor to come and rescue me. As I hung there laughing, all I could think was “the harness had me safe all along”. I was over the moon. The harness had caught me.
I finished the assault course in record speed (for me), even down the optional 250 metre zip wire, and I was on a high. I realised my whole struggle around the course had been because I doubted subconsciously whether the harness would catch me or hold me. I thought how differently I would have gone through the challenges if I’d really known that, if I fell, I would be safe. The harness was strong enough, and it hadn’t let me down.
God spoke very deeply in my heart on the way home, about how we can live like this with the Lord. We can live by letting Him be the harness in our lives, but never really trusting He will hold us safe if things go wrong, or we fall. We live, attached to the harness, but holding on to our own security for dear life. God longs to show us that He holds us safe, but we only discover His trustworthiness, His faithfulness and His care when we give Him opportunities to prove it to us. Until then, we walk around with the harness (the Lord) attached, but never really sure if He’ll be strong enough, or if He’ll catch us.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, I want to live my life one hundred per cent for You. I’m sorry that I sometimes cling to my own man-made securities, and I listen to the fears and doubts in my mind that say I have to keep myself safe. Lord, I want to live a Kingdom life of reckless abandon, where I walk where You ask me to walk, and trust You alone to keep me safe. Please teach me to trust You more, and give You the chance to prove You’re who You say You are. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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