Three men stood gazing up the arduous incline, contemplating their pact to climb the mountain. The first, Cole, bolted off with little thought. All his senses were vibrantly excited to attack the task at hand. His eyes glowed with a hint of adventure. The caw of a nearby raven sent forth his battle cry, and he could not restrain himself any further. Not even looking back, he shouted, “See you at the top!” Quickly he sensed the pulsating of his heart surging blood through out his body; every muscle, every cell was satiated with life.
The second, Al, contemplated his best recourse of action. Fear suddenly retained a strangle hold around his throat. Unable to breath, he hoisted his carefully thought out backpack from his shoulder to remove a water bottle. Drinking generously, the tension subsided from a strangle hold to a mere merciful grip. Looking back at the car, he exclaimed, “This whole idea was a mistake. How did I ever let you and Cole talk me into this? Maybe I should just stay behind and read. Wait for your return.”
“Oh, come on, Al. This is your dream. You spent the whole week planning for it. You’ve covered every angle. Remember that leap of faith we discussed the other day? Faith without action isn’t faith at all,” replied the wisdom of his dearest friend. Al hated when his friend was perpetually right. After carefully examining each standpoint of the slope, Al chose his course and plodded slowly up, watching each footstep with precision. His brain ached with thoughts crowding into every nook and crevice. The beauty of his surroundings, the wind in his hair or the blossoms of the new buds, was lost on him.
The third, Bert, stood back and absorbed the glory of the morning, announcing a bit of praise to its Creator. While the incline looked indomitable, he knew all things were possible in Christ. Before setting off on his journey, he knelt in humility and exclaimed prayers up to heaven. Off he ran to catch up with his friend. If they were all going to make it to the top, he knew Al in particular would need bushels full of encouragement. His heart burst with the possibilities of his journey. The glory of God’s world flooded in, and he bathed in it.
As they neared the last mile of their trek, beads of sweat tunneled down their brows. “One more mile. We’re going to make it!” rejoiced Bert.
Patting Bert on the back, Al wheezed out, “Yahoo!” At that point, they viewed the image of their moaning friend anguishing at the bottom of a crag. “ Cole!”
“Guys, help me! I tried to challenge myself with this ridge and failed miserably,” Cole explained, caressing an ankle that blazed like it was on fire.
“Fantastic, Cole!” blurted Al without hiding his disgust. “Once again, within a mile of our destination, you ruin it for all of us. Ever since we were kids, we’ve been cleaning up the mess you leave in your tracks. I’m tired of bailing you out of jail, covering for your lies, and rationalizing your actions.”
“Al, are you going to start rehashing this same old childhood argument or are you going to figure out a way to get us up the hill?” interrupted Bert.
“You don’t get it, Bert. His ankle is probably broken. There is no going up the hill,” replied Al, pacing away to recover his disposition.
“Al, don’t you think it’s time you just believe? You’re the brightest person here. Find a way to get us up the hill,” retorted Bert. “And you, Cole, isn’t it time you accept accountability for how your actions affect us all?”
Shame rose like the dawning of the sun across Cole’s face. Tearing up, he repented, “ I attempt to control my impulses, yet I’m constantly failing. Always running ahead just to find out I can’t do it without you. I’m sorry. Please, Al, let’s make it to the top together, all of us.”
Three hours later as dusk quickened upon their heals, two men dragging a third who laid upon a make-shift gurney stumbled to the peak of the mountain, yet instantly the image faded into one man, Albert Cole. One man victorious; three parts…body, soul, and spirit unified for one cause, the race of the Saints. The Trinity smiled.
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