There I was, pressed between two very large boulders, clinging to one and pressing against the other for dear life. It had seemed easy enough to climb these monstrous boulders in Joshua Tree National Park, but in my efforts to reach the top, I truly hadn’t give a single thought to how I was going to get back down.
Bouldering is a bit different from rock or face climbing. In bouldering, it is not uncommon to go without a harness or repelling gear. However, once you have climbed boulder upon boulder, you and a face climber have achieved one great likeness: height. Next came what I consider to be one of the toughest moments of my life: ”How do I get down?”
Fear had gripped me to the core. What seemed like baby steps to climbing experts (namely my father and brother) appeared to me as pretty darn near impossible. Really though… Who was going to help me? I just kept cursing the day in my head over and over.
“Oh, if only I had stayed home! Oh, if only I hadn’t gone on the climb. Oh, if only I had stayed back with some of the other girls….”
It switched from that to hatred (not really, but you know what I mean) for everyone that got me in that place. And then the anger moved on to my poor dad, because it had suddenly become his fault entirely. After all, he knows me. He knows I’m afraid of heights. He knows my limitations. He raised me. He should have been looking out for me. It was his job to take better care of me (even though I was a full grown adult woman who demanded to be treated as such). Why was I so mad? I didn’t want to be mad. Honestly, no one was to blame but myself. Suddenly, the tears started to well up. Then my thoughts went cold silent. This was really happening. I was stuck. I was STUCK! I WAS STUCK!!!!!!!! For a moment, I heard nothing but my heartbeat pounding its way though my chest. I felt nothing but immense terror paralyzing my entire body disabling me from any movement. It seemed as if hours were replacing my seconds. Nevertheless, my father, aware of my predicament, had already gone to work on getting me down. He began with a tender, but strong and assertive voice. He told me that fear would cause me to stiffen and worsen matters.
“Amie, you’re going to have to trust me now. Take you left foot off the rock and feel your way down. You’ll find a notch to put your foot in, then you’ll continue as I say. I won’t fail you, and I won’t leave you. But you have to come down with your body facing the rock, so you won’t be able to see.”
“How ’bout we do things MY way!” I yelled out, “I want to SEE where I’m going! This is stupid! What if I fall and die?!?”
“Amie, you can’t “see” your way down a parallel rock; you’ll fall. You must feel your way. You need to trust me now. I will be your eyes for you.”
“Dad, I’m scared. I don’t want to do this… Dad, please… don’t make me do this!”
“I know you’re scared. It’s going to be okay. I’m really sorry. Listen to me very carefully, Amie… I KNOW you can do this, but you have to listen to my instruction and you need to trust me, and obey me.”
So the story went as I griped and complained the entire way down… but guess what? I lived to tell about it!
Have you ever had a moment when fear seized your ability to pursue your dreams, or maybe just inhibited you from taking your next step? Questions like, “What if I fail? or, “What if this hurts me?” seem to echo endlessly through your mind. Maybe it’s not a rock in Joshua Tree that has overwhelmed you with fear. Maybe it’s simply saying, “Hello.” to the person sitting next to you. Maybe it is telling your friend or coworker about your faith and your relationship with Jesus Christ. Perhaps it’s fear in parenting. Or, maybe it’s writing a paper for your College English class (like where this story got its first introduction to the world). It could be your marriage, or your desire to be married. Really, the list is endless, but whatever it is, it matters to you, and it is big enough to stump you.
When coming face to face with my fear, I was left in no other position but to trust. Now, trust may be an abstract term that needs a definition, be we all know what it “is”.
It’s the very thing we do not want to do when we are faced with trials.
It is simple. We all like to place our confidences in none other than ourselves.
All my years of ”contemplating” trust have landed me nowhere… Let’s face it, trust isn’t something that you mentally figure out then achieve, but rather something that you do… then understand.
The Word of the LORD says, in Proverbs 3:5, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all of your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your path.”
Do you see the parallel between the story I have told you and trusting in God? Oftentimes, we are faced with obstacles bigger than ourselves; oftentimes, we are prone to fear. But get this, as my father instructed me down the rock, he had several advantages over me.
Two advantages were of most significance.
One, he had climbed down before me, thus he knew what it was like to be in my place.
Secondly, he was observing my position from a different perspective. In other words, he could see where I needed to place my feet and hands; this made him a great asset to me, for now, he had become my eyes! Without his instruction, I might have become a permanent fixture on that rock.
Have you become a permanent fixture on your rock of fear?
Many of us become captive to our fears, failing to realize that Christ Jesus is our source of strength in whom we can trust. He is our wisdom… He is our eyes! It says in the Bible, that Jesus sympathizes with our weaknesses, because He was tempted in all points as we are, but without sin. (Heb. 4:15) That means that, YES, Jesus has walked a mile in your shoes! He knows what it feels like to be in your exact place… right now! If that is not enough to make you trust, how about the idea that He sees your position from a totally different angle, too?
He is your Creator.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made.” ~ John 1:1-3
“You mean to tell me that Jesus can know more than I do?” Sounds like a pretty dumb question, doesn’t it? But, if it is so dumb, then why can we not blindly trust God? Maybe it’s time to face the facts!
You see, whether or not I wanted to climb down the rock, I had to… I had no choice. No amount of wishful thinking was going to change my situation. Could I do it alone without any instruction? No. Do you think our Lord standing beneath you may have a few tips on how to descend from your rock of fear or your “trial rock”? What does it take for us? What will it take for you?
It is often said that trust is something that is earned. I agree. My father has earned my trust by devoting his life to me. I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that he loves me so much that he would give up his life for me to protect me; that merits him my trust.
Well, the Bible states in John 15:13, “Greater love has no on than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friend.”
Keep with me here….
Do you know that Jesus Christ has offered you friendship?
He loved you… YOU… so much that
He gave… GAVE…
His life… LIFE… for you.
Now, read those big words back, from his perspective looking up… LIFE GAVE YOU! It’s right there both ways. I’m sure you see it. He gave His life for you, look back up and see… LIFE GAVE YOU! He’s got you covered both ways.
“This world belongs to the man who is wise enough to change his mind in the presence of facts.” ~ Roy L. Smith
The facts are this:
We cannot overcome life’s obstacles, fear, and trials without trusting in the One by whose death on the cross proved His perfect love for us, and conquered sin and death, and rose from the dead on the third day to bring us salvation and everlasting life – in and through Himself!
He rescued us from the clutches of sin and death and the depravity of our own imperfection, and provide a way for us to enter into His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise!
That’s an AMAZING friend… HE’s the definition of “TRUSTWORTHY FRIEND.”
I’ll take His directions.
I’d be a fool not to.
How about you?
©By Amie Joy Chiarelli Wylie (Reyajoy) 2013 – a rewrite from an old College Paper from 9-16-98
Note: This is a rewrite of a story I wrote in college 15 years ago, today (I started college late- tee hee).