Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Zip Line (an non-stamping article)

I try not to post too many non-stamping articles on my blog. But this article kept me awake last night till it was written. It is about a Christian camp that our family is deeply committed to called Bay Shore Camp. It is about a zip line which can be seen HERE. I will not be offended if you choose to skip this article (how would I know? LOL!) I will make an effort to get at least one stamping article up for tomorrow.

God’s call of ministry and the zip line

This summer my good friend and I were with our nine year old daughters at Bay Shore for Family Assembly. We were there to teach, they were there to have fun, and all of us looked forward to fellowshipping with the Body.

The call— We had free time and the girls suggested we go on the zip line. We, their mothers, agreed. My friend and I knew we preferred the ground to the air, but so many have done it (and surrivived) we could do it, too. We walked up the trail, saw the landing point, and people getting off, safely and quite joyful. (We can do this, too). We listen to stories of those who have gone while we are in line. We walk further and see the launching point—it is high, but there are harnesses, railing, helmets, and guides. There is nothing to be afraid of.

We agree to go, not only saying “Yes” to his gift of salvation, but also to His call to ministry. We know in our heads that it will take us out of our comfort zone, but we know we will be with God on the journey. We know that he will provide our needs to do His will and it will be to His glory.

The equipping— We are fitted with helmets and harnesses. The equipment is strong and durable, and the fit is tested. The helper is satisfied. We are ready.

We study God’s word, write his words on our hearts. We spend time in meditation and prayer. We spend time with the Body, praising and worshipping Him. He does not send us out unprepared, unprotected, or alone. He sends His Helper, the Holy Spirit with us.

The beginning— We start up the stairs. I see that they are sturdy and strong, but as I climb them, I hear creaks, and feel a slight sway. I know the stairs, and the platform at the top, will neither break nor fail. But the sight of the ground so far away, and the breeze in my ears sends a wave of worry through me. I am nervous, and afraid. I could turn back, but then I would let down my friend and my daughter. So I go on.

Though we were warned that the road of his call would not be easy, we are surprised by the bumps and troubles along the way. The threat of doubt creeps in. We are vulnerable to Satan, and he takes advantage. We don’t want to turn back, we want to serve the God we love. His mission is now our mission.

The journey—As we step up to our perch we are properly and carefully hooked on to the zip line by our helper. I cling to the large post next to me as if it is my last remaining friend. My friend and the girls are hooked on to my right and my left. We are together, but separate. We smile and encourage one another, but when the helper says to go—we must each go on our own.

In the body, we are there to encourage one another. But one member cannot have faith for another. The Helper can make sure we are “hooked in” properly, but each member must leap on his or her own.

The leap—We discovered there is more than one way to get off the platform. The girls to a walking leap (with great joy) anticipating the glorious ride, trusting in the equipment, and savoring every inch of the ride. My daughter fully let go of her rope and let the equipment do its job. I sat down as much as the harness would let me, and scooted off my little platform, anticipating a drop or a moment of free fall (which never came)—full of worry till I was half way down the line and then realized that it was fun, and I was safe and fully supported by the line and harness. My friend stepped off obediently but held her self up by her rope as if it would not hold her without her help, till also part way through she too could let go and enjoy the ride.

We can leap straight into the Father’s arms, doing what he asks, and letting him be in control—then we can see the wealth of his power and feel the depth of his love. We can scoot off tenitively afraid of the lions (whether they are there or not) worried about what can go wrong—missing what is going right—unable to witness God’s will being done. We can also try to go on our own power. Tiring ourselves and feeling our own strength falter and not showing the world the strength of our God.

The dismount—At the end of our ride we were brought back together. Laughing, basking in the adrenaline rush, and sharing the stories of our own ride: the shoe that came off, the mom that almost didn’t come down, the glory of the ride. We grab our doggie leashes and run them back up the hill—for there are more people ready to leap.

At the end of a ministry or a task, we reflect on how faithful God was on our journey, on how we made mistakes and it was harder. Or even on how we let go and God was glorified all the more. We return to pass our equipment to others so that they can be a part of the journey as well.

Would we do it again—YES! Did we do it again—YES!! Encouraging others on our way up and letting go a little easier at the top.

Yes, Lord, Let’s do it again! Send me! All for Your Glory!


JAR said...

I love your analogy and am in awe of you even doing this! I would be scared!!

Becky - Stampin in the Tulip City said...

I love this post! Wonderful how you told your story with the comparisons through out.

Jean from jlfstudio said...

Thanks Juliana for sharing this wonderful story and teaching all wrapped up in one. With Easter approaching it was a powerful reminder of a Father's love and the faith Jesus had to have to take that same step of faith.

I've shared the link with my family and friends. Have you ever thought about submitting this to some Christian magazines or Reader's Digest or other publishing outlet?

Thanks again and have a blessed Easter - Jean