TITLE: Climber Ready
By Jess Godwin
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“Ok God, I know You don’t want me climbing any walls. ‘On Christ the Solid Rock I Stand’ and all. If I know anything about solid rocks, it’s that they aren’t found a million miles up in the air. OK, so it’s not 'a million miles,' it’s only 14 feet. But it’s still close enough to hurt when I fall."
This was the beginning of an attempt to logic God out of having to participate in a trust game where the object is to get your entire group over a fourteen foot wooden wall. Did I mention that there is no ladder to help get over the wall? I’ll try to logic God out of anything. I’m the girl who tried to convince Him that snow is merely “time released rain” and since it was, He could make it snow for Christmas instead of the drizzling rain that He gave us. So, this was no new attempt on my part. Unfortunately, I’m a slow learner, so God has to draw stick figures for me.
I settled in for my quiet time and waited for God to speak to me through His word. I felt pretty safe continuing my journey through Psalms. I wouldn’t find any walls there. It wasn’t like I was reading through Joshua and would encounter the Wall of Jericho any time soon. I opened up to the Psalm I was reading that day.
“Hmmm…Some stuff about trusting God, Him being my rock and fortress and my strength and shield. Sounds nice” Now, any other person would have realized that when their daily reading is so loaded with verses about trust, they should just be willing to do whatever it is that they are being told to do, especially if it involves visibly demonstrating a deeper level of trust than they think they have. But I’m not any other person, and as I said before, sometimes God has to draw stick figures. I read down a few more verses before I found them.
“For You will light my lamp;
The LORD my God will
enlighten my darkness
For by You I can run against a troop,
By my God, I can leap over a wall.”
Psalm 18:28-29 NKJV
“God, You can’t be serious can You? I mean, You don’t have plans to harm me, and I’m pretty sure falling off that wall will do more than a bit of harm.”
“Jess, just trust me”
“But God, it’s so high.”
“Ok, but I still don’t understand. Just don’t let it hurt when I die.”
Quiet time ended and we got wrapped up in our group study. Too quickly though, it was time to head outside for recreation. I tied my shoes, packed my Bible and notebook in my backpack and got some water. Altogether, I think I killed less than a minute of rec. time. That’s not a whole lot of time to keep me from the wall.
Our group walked outside. Kristin, our Bible Study leader for the week walked next to me.
“So Jess, you up to this?”
“I don’t know, but God wants me to do it, so I guess I kinda have to”
“How did He show you He wanted you to do this?”
“He gave me a verse… “By my God, I can leap over a wall.”
“Word! That is awesome!”
“Yeah, well, I’m going to do it.”
All too soon, I was standing facing that fourteen foot (mile?) high wall. Two people were at the top waiting for me, and there were probably about fifteen people behind me waiting to help me go up. Now, God has gifted me in a few areas, but height is not one of them. At five foot four inches, I’m average at best. The tallest person in our group was about six feet tall. I may not be so great at math, but even I know that six plus five does not equal fourteen. Even with those extra four inches, there would still be two feet and eight inches of air between me and the top of the wall. The two people at the top just might be able to reach that far with their arms. Then again, they might not. I was just going to have to rely on God to either pick me up or cushion my fall.
I stepped forward and wobbly uttered the words that sealed my fate.
“Climber Ready. . .Climbing”
I was lifted up at a dizzying speed and then everything stopped. Those pesky two feet and eight inches were proving to be my problem. My mind raced from one thing to the other. I’m going to fall. They’re going to drop me. What panties did I put on after my shower? Can I just go home right now? Help me God!
The people at the top managed to get some form of a grip on me. “Some form” was right. One girl grabbed my arm, and one girl grabbed my shorts. Honestly! As if pulling on my shorts was going to get me anywhere near over the top of that wall. They got my right shoulder over the wall, and effectively bruised and scratched my upper arm and my calf where they tried to pull me in two different directions. Someone seriously needed to tell them that my almost broken body was not going in more than one direction without being fully broken.
The people at the bottom did their job well. Especially those in the back who were “spotting.” They took their job seriously. Feet spread, arms up, and eyes attentive. They did not stop even while being attacked by the Kamikaze June Bugs that were waiting to ambush us by flying their small hard bodies into our heads.
My breathing became rapid and shallow and my legs started to shake. That’s when I knew it was over. I’ll never forget the relief when I heard Kristin shout “Bring her down!”
After my feet were blessedly planted back in the grass, the rec. leader made me sit down and drink a cup of water. I think he was afraid that I would pass out. In truth, it felt good to sit. My knees weren’t exactly cooperating with my thoughts of standing up, and my whole body was shaking. My head felt rather light and foggy too. Sitting alone in the grass left me a little time to think. At first, I thought about how I’d failed because I hadn’t made it over the wall. But then, I heard that same “voice” I’d heard during my quiet time a bit earlier.
“So, what did you learn from this?”
“That You have a sense of humor?”
“Ok, seriously here, I learned that when You tell me to do something, You are going to protect me, even if I think it’s going to hurt”
“Let’s see…I learned that I’m not always in charge of the end result. That I should just do what You’ve said and leave the rest up to You?”
“Yes, I’ve called you to be obedient. Anything else?”
“That if there isn’t a fourteen foot wall around, I don’t have to climb it? Sorry. Um. Sometimes, things hurt, sometimes, I’m hanging on by a thread, but as long as I’m obedient and I trust You, then I haven’t failed You.”
“That’s my girl! Now, on to your next game. This one promises to be a lot easier.”
I’ve been home for over six months now, and I’ve carried that lesson with me in my heart. I face “walls” through each part of my life, especially as a Christian who is a senior English Major at a very liberal, very Non-Christian university. But, I know that when God is for me, no one, not even those who are openly hostile to my beliefs, can stand against me (Romans 8:31 NKJV). I stand in front of the wall with my eyes focused on the top. I boldly say “Climber ready!” and I wait for God to lift me up and over.
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