Trust is a bad word for me.

I remember in the summer of 2018, my parents took the whole family away to celebrate their 50th anniversary so us kids and grandkids joined them for a vacation in Massanutten, Virginia.  One of the things we did there was zip lining.

Now let me tell you something interesting about Ted. He is NOT scared of heights. However, he has trust issues with the apparatuses holding him up over those heights.  Summer was too small to join us so it was just the five of us.

In order to warm Blake, Ted’s youngest, up to the idea of stepping off a platform and trusting the wire above you, we did a smaller test run. She is normally a dare devil but she stood on that platform and cried her eyes out, terrified. 

I kept trying to reassure her. I said, “Blake, I know you. I know you love thrills and excitement and rides. As soon as you step off, you’re going to see that you love it.”

She couldn’t do it. When we would count down, she would freak out. The man operating the zipline whispered to me that I could give her a push if I wanted to.  Done. So I counted down and then unexpectedly shoved her off!

SHE LOVED IT!!!!!!! She wanted to do it again. I knew her and I knew this was right up her alley. But it was still hard for her to trust me that this was worth the risk.  

The next day we ventured out to do the whole zipline course.  I think it used 7 different ziplines to get to the end. That’s when the twist came. 

For the seven ziplines, you could see the wire suspended above your head. You could see it holding you up.  You knew where your safety was. However, the last zipline required you to simply step off the platform, drop 50 feet straight down, and you couldn’t see what was holding you. 

In fact, as you jumped off the rope looked loose, like it had no weight or resistance to it at all. This FREAKED out Ted. He couldn’t actually take the step off and had to sit on his bum and shimmy off the edge. There was no other way to the bottom except slipping off the edge.  No ladder…no stairs.

After we all were down to safety he said that he had a hard time because he couldn’t see what was holding him up…he just had to trust it was there even though it looked as if it was just going to be a freefall to his death.  

Yesterday I was reading the story in Joshua 2 about Rahab the prostitute.  Joshua 2:18 says “You must leave this scarlet rope hanging from the window.”  This was her lifeline. I learned that in Hebrew the word ‘cord’ means ‘tikvah’ which means hope. 

Then I read this:

“How strong a cord seems – until your life slips off the edge of a cliff and you lunge for something to hold on to.”

-Ann Voskamp

This hit me.  

I’ve been rock climbing and even though I’m tethered to a rope to keep me safe, I would cling to that rock like my life depended on it. But even if that rope had snapped, my own strength would not be able to hold me secure from falling.  

All of these things made me realize three things:

  1. Like Blake, sometimes I fear the new or different place that God wants to take me.  I’m scared and I haven’t been there before…I ASSUME it will be bad. But like I know Blake, God knows me. He knows what I need and what will bring me joy.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Sometimes he has to shove me off the edge – and I might initially be mad – but when I get to the end of the time or challenge, I will look back and see that it was perfect for me. He knew what was best. 
  2. Like Ted, sometimes it is hard to just step off and trust what you can’t see…trust that the ending will be okay even though you have no idea how God is going to hold you up or keep you safe.  And sometimes, you have to sit on your bum…or get on your knees…and scooch off the edge and trust him.                                                                                                                                                But the method doesn’t matter as long as you make the leap and trust. There’s no other way to safety.  And sometimes that rope looks loose…life looks chaotic or out of control but once you start going down, the tension in the rope comes and you see God had it all along. 
  3. Like me, I like to think I have control. I can get angry, impatient or panicky or flustered.  I bark instructions at others, or make high demands of myself. This is because I think it all rests on me…that I’ve got to keep things together. That it is up to me that things run smoothly.

I think that it’s up to me to get it right so that my kids get the best life…it’s up to me to get it right so that Ted has the best wife.

It’s up to me to workout everyday because fitness is everything and if my body falls apart, what else do I have? It’s up to me to look put-together so that I’m not the kid who failed my parents…so that my life looks as good as my siblings or my friends who seem to have it all.  It’s up to me…or so I think.

But in the same way that my strength alone couldn’t hold me to that rock, my strength alone cannot get me through this life. I will crumble, and slip, and be tired and have to let go…I will be sad, and empty and have to crawl into bed…I will have to dangle and rest, being held up by the lone Rope – the Rope that I have to put all of my trust in. But, thankfully, that Rope can hold more than I ever could.

So may I step off the ledge today. Just today.

May I trust that God is introducing a new experience that is perfect for me.

May I trust that though I can’t see exactly how it is going to happen, He is there…that rope, that cord, that hope.

And may I trust in Him being strong enough instead of feeling like it is up to me.

Besides, sometimes when you are dangling on the side of a rock, you finally have the time to look around and take in how amazing it is right where you are.

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