My husband and three of our kids are in Colorado on a youth trip where they’re participating in adventurous activities like low/high ropes courses, mountain-climbing, rappelling, & white-water rafting. Trusting their teammates and equipment enables them to accomplish incredible, death-defying activities that they’d never even consider by themselves. That kind of trust builds confidence and courage; it is a tangible parallel to the boldness and freedom we can have as we live in Christ.
One of the most frightening activities that they’ll participate in is the high ropes course. On day one, they begin with simpler exercises on a low ropes course, but before long, they find themselves 25-30’ in the air, amongst the treetops like a bunch of monkeys, holding onto a rope while gingerly balancing and walking from platform to platform on another rope. The exercise culminates in shimmying up a telephone pole and standing straight up on the top of it with nothing to pull up on or hold onto. Then they are challenged to turn around on their tippy-toes while balancing on the top of that pole, and leap into the air to grab onto a trapeze several feet away! This is the “Leap of Faith!”
The Leap of Faith wouldn’t be possible without the harnesses, rope riggings, and experienced people on the ground belaying. Friends, teammates, and leaders cheer for each adventurer every step of the way. It’s not enough to stand up there in the trees and feel encouraged by the people below. The pole-inhabiter can greatly value all of the enthusiasm and friendships, but if he can’t trust in their ability to hold onto that rope, then he will not have the confidence needed to reach his goal.
This exercise has three potential outcomes:
1) The participant doesn’t really participate at all. He’s either content to just watch others go up that pole, or he can’t bring himself to trust his teammates so fear keeps him from even beginning.
2) The participant begins the climb but gives up before reaching the top. Maybe he gets tired or he closes his eyes and loses focus, doubt seeps in.
3) The participant endures, overcomes, and keeps the goal in his sights. He successfully reaches the top and is in position to take that giant leap. While turning around on the top of that pole, he gets a 360-degree view of his surroundings. From his new vantage point, he sees things differently—his perspective has changed, and he can enjoy a bigger picture. Now comes the moment he’s been waiting for…he must choose to leap out into nothingness 25‘ in the air and reach for a hanging stick! He can’t just stick his toe out, he must give it all he’s got. Despite his new surroundings, he has a new focus—that trapeze.
Whether our pole-climbing, faith-leaping adventurer reaches that prized trapeze makes no difference. The lesson is in the trust, faith, focus, & willingness to blindly go for it! The importance is in the leap. I compare this to my relationship with Jesus. I can value His enthusiasm for me and His friendship…I can even be grateful for all that He has done for us. But until I completely trust Him and His ability to do what He says He will do, I’m able to accomplish nothing of value. More importantly, I’m unable to see, let alone fulfill my purpose.
I’m in a new place in my journey with Jesus. He’s been building my faith by continually fulfilling his promises, giving me a grander vision of not only His beauty but also for what breaks His heart. He’s carried me through heart-break and sin and sickness and more heart-break. When I see Catalyst Ministries in action, I see Jesus in action, carrying others through heart-break and sin and sickness and more heart-break. As I stand on the top of that figurative pole, I soak in all that God has for me, but the goal is to focus on Him and take the greatest leap that I can into whatever He’s asking of me. Sometimes I’ll get it right, sometimes I won’t. Either way, I leap. That is my response to His Goodness. So, what do I see as I jump? God’s outstretched arms catching me either way. That is my View from the Leap!
Blogging for Catalyst Ministries is definitely a pole-leaping experience for me. Recently, a dear friend made a very interesting observation about my family that helps to explain my desire to share Catalyst’s message. You see, my dad is a retired police-officer; my husband is a retired firefighter; my older son is a Criminal-Justice major to become a police-officer; my older daughter is majoring in Pastoral Studies: Ministry-to-Victims-of-Human-Exploitation so she can help stop trafficking; my younger son wants to fly police-helicopters (or create specialized costumes and props for superhero movies…right now, it’s a toss-up!); and my younger daughter wants to be an art-therapist. The observation that my friend shared is that ours is a family of “rescuers.” Each has a deep desire to go into someone’s hurting world & assist, comfort, and advocate for what is good and right. Ultimately though, the greatest healing comes through pointing others toward Jesus Christ. He has rescued us all and is a very present help in times of trouble. This desire for healing is what brings me to Catalyst and through this blog I hope to bring awareness to the tragedy of human trafficking. With God’s leading, we can all make a difference that will ease some of the suffering afflicted by this sinful world. I hope that you will continue to join me here and share these blogs so others might decide to join us up on that pole…the view is Magnificent!
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who approaches Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.