The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, And He delights in his way. 24 Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; For the Lord upholds him with His hand. Psalm 37:23-24 NKJV
As John struggled halfway up the 60 ft cliff a look of concern was etched upon his face. He had reached an impasse, and felt he could go no further. He yelled up to me with fear in his voice, “ok I’m ready to come down now”. So I told him what I’ve told hundreds of beginners, “ok John, here’s what I want you to do; let go of the rock, let go of the rope, and jump off!” John took a moment to collect himself and then launched backward. I saw a quick glimpse of panic flash though his eyes and a millisecond later the rope caught him after falling only two feet. “Ok, John, now you know how falling feels. That wasn’t too bad was it? Climb on. You can do this.” John started climbing again, this time with confidence and quickly reached the top of the rock.
I’ve heard it said, “if you’re not falling you’re not climbing hard enough!” In many ways this climber’s maxim is true. For so many beginners the real struggle is not having the strength or balance to climb but learning to fall and trust the rope and belayer to catch them. I’ve seen this scenario repeated many times over. It can be nerve racking to let go of control and just take the fall. The fear of falling is a normal rational human emotion, but one can only climb with confidence and to their highest potential when that fear no longer controls them.
What’s true of falling in climbing is also true of a faith walk with Jesus. There have been many times in my life when I was so afraid of failing that I didn’t want to do what God was calling me to do. There have also been times that I fell so hard that I wondered how I could ever be picked up and put back together again.
The great missionary William Cary once said, “Expect great things from God. Attempt great things for God.” We will never attempt great things for God if we are afraid of falling, and don’t trust Him to catch us. May you walk in confidence, boldly following Jesus, knowing that He upholds you with His hand and will catch you if you fall.
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