Kaboooom, kaBOOM, KABOOOOM!
My heart pounds harder and harder, threatening to jump out of my chest. A salty bead of sweat runs down my forehead into my eyes.
“Ow! Now, why is it that I wanted to do this, again? And on my vacation?” I ask myself while struggling to find the next handhold while clinging onto the side of a cliff at Smith Rocks, Oregon. My husband, Joel is belaying, below on the ground, holding onto the other end of my rope. He’s yelling words of support while keeping me from falling to my death.
Hope When There Are No…
When Joel and I were Youth Ministers (he served for eight years, and I served for 7) one of our favorite events was to take kids on a long weekend get-a-way that included rock climbing. It was an excellent way to help kids grow by getting them out of their comfort zone. Rock climbing made them rely on others, as well as trust the ropes, harnesses, and other gear. This experience served as a potent metaphor for their faith in God, which too often had been mostly theoretical. Rock climbing also showed them what real community is. Hanging on to others even while hanging on a slab of rock. The enthusiastic support of their peers (and adults) helped lift their spirits. They’d find the courage to keep climbing. Powerful moments were made here.
Joel and I were intrigued by the challenge of the sport so we took a training course so we could safely set up climbs for ourselves. On our days off we often enjoyed scrambling up a rock face nearby or while on a vacation trip.
Unfortunately, I had to give up rock climbing when I developed chronic pain in my hands 15 years ago.
However, I still enjoy the memories.
Looking back now I can see that just like in rock climbing, it is so important for each of us to have friends cheering us on and lifting us up as we’re hanging on during the difficult periods in our life.
Friends help us see our inner strengths, lift our spirits, and rally around us during tough times.
The first five years of my chronic pain journey were the worst. I reached a point where I had prayed so many times for relief and healing that I had run out of words and had even lost the heart to say them anymore. It was just too painful to pray the same prayer over and over again. And yes, sometimes I was just too angry because my many prayers hadn’t been answered. Secretly, though, I found comfort in knowing that even if I couldn’t pray anymore, my home church, my family, and my friends were all praying for me. Praying on my behalf. Praying when I couldn’t.
Sometimes we need someone else to lift our prayers up to God for us. There are times when we must lean on their hope on our behalf.
In the Bible there is a great story in Mark, chapter 2, that relates to this kind of situation. Townspeople crowded into a house Jesus was visiting. Four men brought their paralyzed friend to Jesus to be healed. But they could not get in. There were too many people in the way. So, they improvised. Hoisting their friend up on top of the house, they cut a hole in the roof, and then lowered him down to Jesus. Because of the actions of his friends, he was able to see Jesus face to face. And Jesus healed the man.
Life gets tough sometimes. Hanging on to hope can be hard. But close friends, those people who care about us, can help us through the toughest of times!
My prayer for you is this that you make the time to develop relationships in your life not just for your sake but for others’ sake’s too. We all need friends to share and celebrate the good things in life. Making the time to truly treasure the good moments in life is not only a wonderful way to nurture relationships with others but it also helps us to become closer and stronger when the tough times come around.
A Community of Hands Brings Many Handholds
God made us with a need to be in community with each other so that we could accomplish more than we imagined. So we make it through the hardest and scariest moments of our lives.
Whether hanging on a rope high up a cliff or standing with both feet on the ground, God can use us in each others’ lives to find the strength and the hand holds of hope we need to grasp onto to pull through.
What’s your story? Please add to the conversation. We’ll be glad you did.