Across the playground there were three horizontal bars at increasing heights. He had never tried the bars before. Today was the day. With his father, Josh, tagging along, six-year-old Adam ran to the lowest bar. It was even with his nose. He wrapped his fingers around it and hopped a bit trying to get a boost. All he could do was slowly sink down and hang there with knees bent and his sneakers dragging on the ground.
Moving to the middle bar, he found he could barely touch it when on his tip-toes. A hop brought him closer to a grip, but it took a mighty leap before he could grab the bar and hold on. As Josh watched his son, Adam swung back and forth, then pulled his feet up to the bar; hooking his legs between his arms and over the bar.
Having fun hanging upside down, Adam looked around and saw the highest bar. It dawned on him that his dad could lift him up to it. A quick dismount put him on the ground, and he approached the highest bar. Adam looked up at it. It was WAAAY up there. He reached with all his might as if he could stretch enough to conjure up a miracle.
From behind, Josh cupped Adam’s ribs with big, strong hands and told him to jump. Giving it all he had, the boy leapt to the bar, believing his powerful jump had made the difference. Grabbing the bar with all his might, Adam hung like a wet towel. He looked around. He couldn’t believe he was up so high.
Dipping his chin to his chest, he looked towards the ground. It was a looooong way down. He didn’t like it. He was afraid. He wanted to get down. But, it was too far to jump. He jerked his head around. “Daddy? Daddy!?”
“What do you need?”
“I want to get down.”
“Then get down.”
“It’s too far.”
Seeing the twenty inches between toe and ground, Josh knew Adam could handle it. The problem wasn’t the distance, but the fear. “You can do it.”
Adam looked again. “No, no. It’s too far, Daddy! I’m scared!”
“It’s fine, Adam. You can do it.”
“No, I can’t. It’s too far.”
“Adam, do you trust me?”
Looking down with big eyes, searching the ground for an answer, Adam replied, “Uhhh, ehh, unh, okay.”
“Then let go and jump down.”
Adam hung on. Josh looked at the boy’s white knuckles.
Coming closer, Josh tried to offer some comfort, “Adam, I’ll make sure you’ll land safely, okay?” He knew it was important for Adam to overcome his fear instead of giving in, and even more important was the need for a boy to trust his father.
Adam hung on. He adjusted his grip. He started to whine. Then tears started to trickle. He was desperate.
“Adam, I am with you. I am right here. You are fine.” Adam squirmed and squeaked out a tiny grunt. “You can do this, but you have to trust me.”
Adam’s grip was breaking, slowly, and with it his belief he could hold on. His weakness was failing him and soon he would fall. He was so afraid. He wondered why his father didn’t rescue him. Finally, with a short, whimpering yelp, his grip was broken and he fell into his father’s able hands, lightly touching down. Dropping to his knees, Josh wrapped his son in a strong embrace.
Turning in his father’s arms, Adam faced Josh with a beaming smile, “I did it! I did it! Can I do it again?”
“In a minute. I want to tell you something.” After pausing to gather the importance of the moment, Josh confessed, “Daddy still gets afraid of letting go... sometimes.”
“Yeah. Really.” Knowing it may be a bit over the boy’s head, but would one day make sense, Josh pressed on. “God tells me to exchange my ways for His better ways, but I get afraid of letting go of my old ways. So, I hold on tight. But, soon my grip gets weaker and breaks, just like yours did.”
“But, Daddy... why are you afraid of God?”
“Oh, Adam. I’m not afraid of God. It’s just that I don’t know what will happen when I let go. Yet, every time, I fall safely into His arms, like you fell into mine. But, I’m still learning to trust Him more and more.”
“Can we do it again, Daddy?”
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