Lessons in falling
Recently on an Adventure camp I was lead climbing, preparing a climb for the campers. At first glance I thought this climb was great with lots of hand holds, many places to put your feet, most definitely a good option for first time climbers. My assessment was correct for the first 15 meters of the climb. The next 10 meters was a very different story. The search for hand and foot holds was challenging, my arms were aching, I had very little strength left to continue. Suddenly my arms gave way and I fell 4 meters. After a short rest I gave it another go and managed to setup the rope. What looked easy to begin with was in actual reality not easy at all!
After the climb I watched others less experienced succeeding to climb this same route. As I watched them I was thinking how much life is like climbing a mountain. When someone has gone before you and setup the rope, a person is more likely to risk climbing higher or over a difficult section because if one were to fall, a person knows that one is only going to fall a short distance, usually 5 to 20 centimeters depending on the stretch in the rope. When lead climbing, the rope goes from the previous quickdraw to the climber, hence when the lead climber falls the fall is double the distance from the quickdraw to the climber plus the stretch and slack in the rope. In my case that was a 4-meter fall.
Life at times looks easy and we think that we can do it on our own, and yes there are many times we can cope with life on our own, but there are most definitely times when we cannot. These are the times when a person begins to rely on Jesus and learn from Him how best to live our lives. As we accept Christ in our lives and His Holy Spirit lives in us, it’s like attaching the rope that holds the climber safe while climbing from the start to the finish. Jesus made it possible for us to have life in all its fullness, in other words life filled with joy, patience, love and peace amid the turmoil that is around us in the world and He has permitted us to enter heaven and receive the prize of eternal life for climbing the race of life.
In church planting it is good for us to be reminded that Jesus goes before us. We can step out in boldness and proclaim that Jesus is God and we know that we will not falter for Jesus is with us, we are not alone. We can and will succeed in the end because Jesus has gone before us to prepare the way. There will be tough and challenging times when we falter and make mistakes, but we cannot give up, we must press on, for Jesus has already prepared the way. We are called to follow the rope to the top in obedience to the way Jesus has prepared with the full assurance that when we falter he will catch us.