Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Climbing With The "Rock" of Ages

My latest endeavors have involved rock climbing with my husband, daughter and friends. It is a sport which is physically difficult, made even more so with only one working leg. On the rare occasion that I actually make it to the top of the wall, I feel accomplished, but getting there can be terrifying, especially for someone deathly afraid of heights! From the moment my feet leave the ground, I am gripping that wall for dear life. I know that I am securely attached to the belaying rope and trust my belayer (the person making sure I don't fall on the other end of the rope), but that knowledge and that fairly thin rope, do not bring me much comfort.

As I climb higher and higher, the fear grows, and I find myself unable to look down. As my arms grow more tired, the reality that each step increases the reality that my grip may give out and I may fall, sets in. Once I reach the top, or realize I can no longer hang on, the moment comes when I must let go of the wall. I must trust that the rope and the person on the other end have me. I mean REALLY trust that they have got a firm grip, and I won't plunge to my death.

This morning's devotional reading, after our night of climbing, was the perfect illustration for this post. From Donald Barnhouse's Commentary on Romans:

     "Let me illustrate in terms of a mountain-climbing expedition. We are roped to our companions and are climbing steadily. Suddenly God plants eternal life within us, and with that life comes sight. We glance at the Savior and see that He is holding us; then we look down and discover that we are dangling thirty feet in mid-air. We turn in terror to the One who is holding us, and regain confidence. When we look down again, we see that the distance below is a hundred feet. We look to the Savior, confident that we are safely held, and He guides us across the face of the rock, telling us where to plant our feet. Whenever we slip we have a new and frightening consciousness of the depth beneath us.......

     When the life of Christ first comes to us it brings the consciousness that there is nothing beneath us in our old life that can in any wise support us. Some Christians struggle, claw with their hands, thrash with their feet, and take a long time to come to rest in Him who is holding them. When you stop resting in Christ and step out on your own, you will find yourself in the place of struggle, and will undergo the wrenching nausea of the pit of Romans 7. But always it is possible to get back into the place of rest - quick as a look." 

No amount of striving, grasping, climbing or gripping will ever save me. I cannot live under the burden of the law. No matter how hard I try, I will never succeed at keeping God's law. My only hope is in Christ alone for my salvation. I must keep my eyes on Jesus where my soul will find peace and rest, and keep my eyes from looking down and living in fear when I see how far I have to fall. While I may never be comfortable at high elevation at a rock climbing gym, I am thankful that God has made me alive in Christ and even when I am a thousand feet in the air, I can let go of the rock face and relax completely, knowing that I am in secure hands.

Seek God with all your heart, soul and mind that you may know that Jesus is holding the other end of the rope, and He has you. With Christ alone as your climbing partner, you can rest in knowing He will never let you fall.