Hidden away in the Bavarian Mountains are salt mines. Some very well-meaning friends urged my husband, John, and I to visit a mine when in Austria. I believed their glowing reports about what a wonderful time we would have on a tour.
Arriving at one of the mines, the first thing we had to do was put on white scrubs over our clothes, to keep our clothes clean. This was not a good sign. Just what had we gotten ourselves in to? We all (and that means all the strangers standing there in their white scrubs) were instructed to straddle a metal bench. I didn’t know who was in front of me; but I grabbed a hold of them. John climbed on behind me. We traveled on this bench into the mine, leaving the daylight behind. After climbing off, we walked further and further into the mountain, through old mining tunnels.
Soon we arrived at a wooden contraption. When its function was explained to us; I voted “no” on the rest of the tour. It was two highly polished wooden rails side by side slanted downward. Two at a time, we were to straddle these rails and slide down to the next level. It was so dark down there we couldn’t see the bottom. But there was no way to go back. John sat in front of me while I clung to him with all my might, needing him to protect me from the danger. Down we went; sliding so fast our thighs burned.
Phew! I was still alive at the bottom.
Through more tunnels…and we kept going. I spied another slide. Everything within me said “I don’t want to”. Our guide informed us this one was three times longer than the first one. In fear for my life, I climbed on. This time John sat behind me to hold on to me and give me comfort. (It didn’t work.) We slid down….and down…and just when I’m wondering when this will end, a flash goes off in my face and they’ve taken my picture. Swell! I’m sure they used it in some dictionary to describe the feelings of terror.
We ended up 650 feet below the surface of the mountain; and lived to tell about it. Phew again!
Do you remember, as a child, climbing to the top of the slide in the park? Were you afraid to let go and begin what seemed like a very long slide to the bottom? Maybe Mom was standing there to catch you. How safe did you feel when you trusted her and just let go?
I’ve been on some other slides in my life. Standing at the top and looking into the deep, dark hole, I voted “no” on taking it. But life does not work that way. Some slides come with the word cancer. Other slides might be called divorce. If you’ve lived very many years, you’ve been at the top of some of life’s slides.
As a Christian, we have some wonderful promises about Someone who doesn’t wait at the bottom to catch us, but climbs on the slide and goes down the slope with us. He wraps His arms around us and holds us tight.
The Message puts it this way in Psalms 91:4: “His huge outstretched arms protect you….” Or Psalms 63:8: “…your strong right hand holds me securely.”
We don’t have to go on our scary slides alone. We have a Friend who will be right with us; even when it is that last big long slide of death. At the bottom we will reach the beautiful place He has gone to prepare for us where we will live eternally.
Phew! What a relief.
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