Friday, March 20, 2009

#33 The Rope Will Hold

2 Timothy 1:7 NASB "For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline."

As a child I did many things that I had no business doing. Can anyone relate? Far too many I am sure. One of the things I did as a child was climb on things. As I have mentioned before, my granddad ran a junk yard and I would spend hours and hours combing over the hills there and roaming all over. Long before I was ever born or even thought of my great granddad owned the property that became my granddad's where the junk yard was. While the land belonged to my great granddad he sold a right of way to the local utility company so that they could come across the land with high-tension power lines. The lines were very high up on towers. These towers were very accessible as they had no fence around them. Not only were they accessible, they were quite inviting to little boys who loved to climb. My buddies and I had climbed on the lower rails of this tower many times. We could see a long ways off over the hills and it was really fun to see how far we could climb. We would only go so far though because we did not understand electricity and we were afraid if we went too high we would get shocked to death. One day when I was by myself I was walking around the junk yard and decided it was a good day to climb the tower. It was still morning and dew was on the groundÅ and on the rails of the tower. I noticed that the rails were slick when I started to climb but I was not concerned about it. I began my way up. Fortunately for me I did not make it very far-about 10 or 15 feet-when I lost my footing and came tumbling down the side to the ground. Praise the Lord I did not break any bones. The grass was sort of high and the ground was relatively soft because it was not a traffic area for the junk yard. The only thing that was broken was my desire to climb, and from that day on I developed a fear of unsecure heights.

That fear followed me into basic training for the Army. Part of our training was to learn how to repel down a wall. We marched out to the obstacle tower and when I saw it my heart began to beat very fast. The tower was fairly big and the top of it was about 70 feet high. After they briefed us on what was going to happen they divided us up and sent us to the various stations for the training. I was among the first group to go to the tower. They walked us up the long steps and when we reached the top we had to get down on our knees and crawl to the place where we were to go over the wall. I was so glad when they told us to get down and crawl. I felt so much safer that way. They had apparently had Soldiers fall off the tower before so they remedied it by having everyone in training crawl when on the top of the tower. We made our way around to the various stations where the drill sergeants were instructing Soldiers on what to do. I purposely made my way to my favorite drill sergeant. He seemed to like me so I thought it would be better for me. When I got there I was shaking like a leaf on the inside. He asked me how I was feeling. I told him I was alright but he knew otherwise. He looked at me in the eyes and he told me, "You are going down that wall and you are going to be fine. You hear me?" I just shook my head in affirmation and slid out over the wall. When I first went out all I could think of was whether or not my rope would hold. I had to place my feet along a little wooden ledge then lean back on the rope and let it hold me. That was a "lean" of faith because there are a few moments before the rope catches you and it feels as if you will fall backwards off the tower. Thankfully the rope caught me. I sat there trying to get my bearings until the raspy voice of the drill sergeant snapped me back to reality. He again looked me in the eye and said, "Bentley, get off my wall. Kick off and remember your training." With that I was off. I kicked off and began to lower myself down the 60 foot wall. After the very first kick I was having a blast. In fact, repelling was one of the highlights to basic training for me. I actually wanted to do it again, but we could only go once.

I see much of what we do for God in the same light as my sitting in a rope harness hanging by a small rope off the side of a wall. Sometimes when God calls us to do something for Him we bring with us all the fears that we have accumulated during our lives. The fears are often well justified just like my fear of unsecure heights was founded in the reality of my fall from the electric tower. But just like I had to push through that fear to accomplish my training for the Army, we too have to partner with God to push through our fears of serving Him and witnessing for Him. Far too many of us allow fear of rejection and fear of failure to cripple us to the point where we may not do the things that God has called us or equipped us to do. I have known some people who never do anything for God and they always make excuses instead of sincerely praying about God's calling and then stepping forward to serve as God equips them to do so. Friends, it is my sincere prayer that as we approach these last days of earth's history that each of you would ask the Lord where He would have you to serve in His work to take the gospel to a world that is dying and in need of the Savior, Jesus Christ.

Dear Father God,
As we approach this Sabbath we would lift up our hearts in praise to You. We want to thank You for Your manifold blessings. Father, as we consider pushing through our fears to do your will in our lives, I ask that You would forgive us where we have failed You in the past. Please wash away the stain of sin that has crippled us from doing Your work. Please give us a spirit of power and love and discipline as You have promised through the apostle Paul. We want to have Your power when it comes to winning souls and we thank You that You are abundantly able and willing to equip us to serve You. It is in Jesus' mighty and holy name that we pray for these things and offer our praise, Amen.

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