Of God and Rocks and Courage
By Charly Whisenhunt
“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock” (Isaiah 26:3-4, ESV).
‘Tis the season to get crazy, falalalala lalalala… Camp is just around the corner, and we are in the trenches to get things ready and be prepared for that week, when crazy does usually not even begin to describe what’s happening. Of course, I have to confess, this is one of my favorite times of the year. I wouldn’t miss the sleep deprivation, camp food, weather challenges and kids puking on the bus for anything. Maybe I don’t know which level of crazy is enough for me, but the rewards far outweigh the effort we put in. Spending a week with a bunch of kids, getting to know and love them, seeing them laugh and cry, knowing that they will experience God at close range… it just doesn’t get any better.
Besides the messy games, which last year included tempura paint, chocolate- and maple syrup, shaving cream and I think baby oil, one of my favorite activities is rock climbing/rappelling. I love seeing the excitement, and sheer joy on the kids’ faces, especially those who overcame their fears. This is what we do:
It is by far not an easy task, and though Kent McIlhany, who owns and operates the equipment assures the kids every year, that the lines are secure, because they are attached to the rock itself, there is still apprehension and fear in a lot of the kids. What if we fall??? So, we encourage them, reminding them that God is right there with them, cheering them on to stretch and grow. Sadly, there are always a few who won’t even try. I feel bad for those kids, because they are missing out on such an adventure. In his explanations, Kent always ads a spiritual component to the physical endeavor. He explains that when going down, our instincts tell us to lean into the rock, but in order to get down safely it is important to lean back, trust the rope and use the rock just to bounce off from, on the way to the ground. The rope is like God’s arms around us and the rock is where we can plant our feet to either take a rest or allow it to be our source for momentum for the next move. God will not let you fall; you just hold on to Him. And even if you cannot hold on anymore, He will hold on to you, He will not let you fall. Trust in the rope and the rock! Trust that God is holding you in His arms.
I can relate to the ones not wanting to even try because there is a teenager, still stuck in my mind somewhere who understands. I never was one of the brave kids. I participated sometimes, and other times I missed out and honestly, I regret that. I think there is a teenager inside all of us, who wants to hide and pretend it is no big deal if I don’t participate.
God has a plan for each of us, but that pesky teenager comes out in everyday life and wants to sabotage our life and our adventure with God. It has taken me a long time, to learn to say: “I trust you Lord” and actually mean it with all my heart. Life happens, whether it is that broken water heater right before Christmas, or a rock that seems way to steep and high for me to climb or rappel from. Fear does not discriminate; it tries to hook its ugly claws into everyone. It is up to us to find the courage to disregard it. Courage is built by doing something in spite of fear! And we never have to face it alone, our Father is just waiting for us to put our trust in Him! So, I choose to say: “I trust you Lord, you are my Rock!”
Prayer: Father, as we go through life, may we recognize fear for what it really is, faith that something bad will happen. Help us to keep our eyes on YOU, our everlasting Rock! You will never leave us nor forsake us. Challenge us to build the courage we need by trusting you and do what fear tells us to forego, so we can become the people you want us to be. In Your Name, Amen.
Grace River Church