Right in the middle of the Bible there is a collection of psalms which we know as the Song of Ascents: Psalms 120-134. They are thought to be the songs sung by worshippers as they ascended the road to Jerusalem to attend one of the pilgrim festivals. The title is especially fitting, as Jerusalem’s lofty geographical position meant that worshippers would have to climb to reach it.
But climbing isn’t always easy.
Recently my wife and I undertook quite a long walk in a mountainous region. Whilst the views were fantastic, the journey to see them was far from easy. Indeed, there was one section that involved us scaling a virtually sheer rock face and struggling to find footholds and handholds that would enable us to make the ascent. In all honesty, we were both terrified; especially as a very strong gusty wind threatened to tear us off the side of the mountain as we climbed.
If we could have turned round and gone back, we would have. But that would have meant getting caught out, exposed, in the darkness on the hostile barren mountainside. We both genuinely wondered if we were going to make it. All we could do was to cry out to God and keep telling ourselves not to look up, not to look down, but simply concentrate on the next step. As we did so, little by little, we made our ascent until, finally, we reached the summit.
I think life can feel like that sometimes. To look ahead is too terrifying. To look back provides no comfort. What then? Sometimes all we can do is to simply concentrate on the next step and then the next and then the next, even when it feels that we could slip at any moment. And, as we do, we cry out to God to guide our feet and hold us safely in His everlasting arms (Deuteronomy 33:27).
There are other moments in our journey through life when we’re not in mortal peril and we can enjoy taking in the view, even though it might feel like a steep climb. There are even times when we delight in the many seasons and terrains, walking, resting, and playing along the way. All seems to be well.
Wherever we are on the journey today, the truth of God’s goodness and faithfulness is the same. Our help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. And He will not let our foot slip.
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