Learning to Climb

By Linda Rodriguez

WBG Linda Rodriguez
Linda Rodriguez

On a recent trip to an amusement area with my three grandsons, I got a delightful insight into their reactions to the Sky Hike, an obstacle course built in the air. Anyone who wanted to brave the course would be strapped into a harness that was connected overhead. The connecting rope then moved through an overhead channel while the user navigated the path below: at times the user walked on a thin rail, other times on wooden blocks spaced at even intervals, and sometimes just on a simple rope. The walker had to make his or her way across these various paths to finish the level and proceed higher.

My 12-year-old grandson did it with ease. He strode across each section as if he were strolling across the front lawn. If he felt any fear, he certainly didn’t show it. He quickly made it to the top level, where he could go no further, and backtracked his way to the stairs for his descent.

The six-year-old was too small to try. He could only watch overhead for a few moments as his big brother snaked through the course. Eventually he shrugged his shoulders and busied himself playing in a nearby creek.

The two-year-old hesitated. Of course he was way too small, but he didn’t know it. He watched the climbers above his head and he watched his other brother playing in the water. He didn’t seem to want to do either one.

That is, until we discovered that there was an area designed for the younger kids just behind the Sky Hike. This area also had thin rails to balance on, blocks of wood to navigate, and sometimes just a rope to walk on.  However, it was all just a foot off the ground and there were guide ropes at a child’s level.

The six-year-old wasted no time hopping on the first course. His little feet were surprisingly spry as they sped across the ropes, the blocks, the rails. A few times he slipped off but it was just a small step to the ground. He quickly got back on the rope and continued, bolstered with a sudden confidence and a burst of bravado.

The two-year-old took his cue and headed for the first platform. Daddy hoisted him up and he stepped onto the wooden block. His tiny hands couldn’t reach the guide ropes, but Daddy’s hands stayed wrapped around his waist. His little feet moved with ease across those blocks until he reached the next platform.  His face beamed with pure joy, for surely he was now doing exactly what his big brothers had done! It didn’t matter to him that Daddy had held onto him the whole time.

Sometimes, it feels like we’re walking on a thin rope in our Christian walk. We are somehow up in the trees, way off the ground, scared to slide our foot forward just one more notch, praying that our safety harness holds us. But that’s just the thing. God IS holding us.

We easily forget what we’ve already done that prepared us for this particular walk. We forget that once, when we were eager babes in Christ, we sped forward on new adventures completely unaware that God had his arms wrapped tightly around us to prevent any harm. Oh, but we are doing it, aren’t we?  We marveled at our own abilities and gained confidence that kept us going.

We ventured out more, following God in higher and more diverse ways. We felt a mile-high at times, rising up to answer God’s call, and not realizing that He still had us in a safe place where a misplaced step couldn’t hurt us. We felt a mile-high but He had placed us just above the ground.

Then the time came when we soared, high above earthly anxieties where our trust and reliance was solely upon the Lord. We stretched out and felt like we were flying. And even if the fears came, or trepidation took our breath away, we remembered that we were harnessed to the Lord.

If we look back, we can see how God has brought us course-after-course until we gained our bravado. Now we can see the hands that held us and the easy courses that taught us. The knowledge of that history gives us the boldness to move up another level. It’s like stepping out into the deep. It’s like soaring as an eagle. It’s the way we learned to climb higher.

Linda Rodriguez is a banker, author, musician, poet, artist, pastor’s wife and Southern Christian Writers board member.

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