When I was a young child, I remember the playgrounds had those metal slides that stood singularly with a steel ladder leading up to a flat metal sled that swooped down a sheer 45 degree angle.
One afternoon at the park, I had wanted to climb the slide one more time before heading home. The structure might have been about ten feet tall, but as a small child it felt like a hundred. I had almost reached the top rung when my hands lost their sweaty grip. Suddenly I felt myself falling weightless, wind rushing past my ears as my body sped down landing hard on the sand. The air escaped my lungs and I gasped to take in panicked breaths.
This week, some of us felt like the wind had been knocked out of our lungs. You know? Like we’ve been slammed hard upon the earth when we look at the state of things in the world. It can feel like this is all there will ever be, the gasping and the struggle.
Yet I am confident I will see the Lord’s goodness while I am here in the land of the living. Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord. PSALM 27:13-14
My own family, too, is living in a kind of free-fall, reaching for
something Someone to grab onto, and it leaves us breathless. But just as we are laid flat on our backs, God rushes in with reminders of his presence, like arms wrapped around to cradle our fearful hearts and remind us that he is still in control.
At my little girl’s gymnastics lesson she was practicing the balance beam, when I noticed a few small objects had been placed along the beam about 18 inches apart. I watched as my daughter made her way along, and encountering the small obstacles she stepped boldly and sure-footed over each one onto the narrow path. The coach walked alongside her ready to catch her if she was to fall.
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. ISAIAH 41:10
When we face obstacles of many kinds, how do we respond? We use an expression when people ask how we’re doing; we might say, “Hanging in there.” I have said this as though clinging to Jesus, but in my head I picture myself as that scared little girl hanging onto the rung of a ladder on an obstacle course, and I’m just so tired of climbing.
But the Bible shows this is how we can respond:
Even though…Yet I will rejoice in the Lord! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation! The Sovereign Lordis my strength! He makes me as surefooted as a deer, able to tread upon the heights. HABAKKUK 3:17-19
Grace says, “Even though.” Even though life is not going as we had planned…Even if we have nothing else to cling to…Even when it feels like the our world is falling apart…Yet our God is bigger. In this we still rejoice!
The best way to respond in adversity is to stop hangin’ in there. Let go and just be held.