Teetering at the edge of a tiny platform up high in the air I looked down and immediately realized I was in for more than I had bargained for.
It had been a predictable day. We had taken Jake’s parents up a gondola to a mountain resort not far from our house.
Our family has done this probably a dozen times.
We ride the gondola. We get off. We look around and realize (again) that there is nothing really to do besides ski or eat. Since skiing with three young children is pretty much out the of the question (and way over budget), we sit down somewhere and eat before heading back down the gondola.
Yesterday was not much different, except that we had all eaten a lot at breakfast and weren’t really hungry. But we were heading over to a cafe we’d been to before with less-than-stellar service and sort of average food when I spotted it. Something new.
It was a ropes course with three levels and I knew immediately I wanted to try it out.
It all happened rather quickly. Jake’s approved the (wince) $20 price tag and said he and his parents would watch the kids while I did it.
I hadn’t really considered what I was getting myself into, but I paid and a guy came over and got me geared up.
I didn’t stop to consider that tight jeans and high boots weren’t exactly suitable apparel. At least I had the wherewithal to grab a hairband and tie my hair back.
I walked up the rope stairs with a bit of pride but when I hoisted myself onto the platform I was humbled. And faced with a fear I had not yet conquered. I was high. Really high.
As a girl I had never been able to step off the 5 meter platform into a pool. I just stood there for, like, 30 minutes until everyone got tired of watching and went somewhere else. I just couldn’t bring myself to do it.
So here I was. Way high in the air and everyone was watching, expecting me to make it to the end. The only problem was that I didn’t just have to step off. Oh now. Between me and the end of this course was a series of booby traps that would surely send me to my death and that I didn’t even have the guts to step off the first platform.
“I should have looked before I signed up,” I said, quickly realizing it was too late for that kind of wisdom.
I looked around for an official guy that I fell sure would be observing me to make sure I didn’t die. No one. I finally flagged a guy down who sort of nodded and looked like he could care less what happened to me.
I prayed, held my breath and took a step off. The log “step” dropped below me. Another step. Another drop.
Somewhere in the middle of the challenges, I stopped being scared and started wondering if I was going to have the physical stamina to finish. Let’s just say upper body strength is not a strong point.
I also realized I was wasting time being scared and worrying. I had taken my hat off despite freezing temperatures because I was afraid it would get in my way (it would have), but now my ears were ringing with cold. If was I was going to finish, I was going to have to keep moving.
Hanging from one rope trying to get my boot into stirrups one at a time I started shaking and sweating and using up every ounce of strength I had. Thankfully the Ripped in 30 training kicked in, and I found I have a new ability to push myself beyond what I think is possible.
In the middle of everything, I also thought about my student who is considering giving her life to God. We talked about how faith is different from understanding in your mind, how it involves putting your life into God’s hands (kind of like getting into a wheelbarrow for someone to push across a tightrope even though you know they can because you’ve seen them push someone else across).
Faith is faith. Easy to preach it. Harder to do it.
But you know what? Each challenge increased in difficulty until the end when the beginning challenge was repeated. This time it almost seemed easy, after all the others I had made it through.
The zipline at the end was a pure gift, as in no upper body strength required.
I was done.
The Lord had helped me each step of the way, and my husband and his parents had been cheering me on also.
My son came up to me afterwards and told me he was “so very proud of me.”
I was never happier to sit down and eat. And just when I thought everything was back to ho-hum, I realized the cafe had changed ownership and served incredible American BBQ and had wonderful service.
So who knows what God has in store for us during 2014? I am just thankful for God who is with us, and challenges us to lean on Him when we are outside our comfort zones.
“…but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” (Bible, Book of Isaiah, Chapter 40, Verse 31)