One thing that is clear about my wife, there is hardly anything she won't do if it means spending time with her grandchildren. Recently, our daughter Beth, and grandsons, Andy and Sam, decided they wanted to "try their hand" at an indoor ropes course. The course led participants to a height of approximately 20' above the floor. The course involved a number of obstacles and maneuvers and most people would consider it a challenging adventure. The participants wear safety harnesses so I wasn't too concerned when my daughter and grandsons got in line to purchase their tickets. My anxiety heightened, however, when I saw my wife get in line and I realized she was planning to go rope climbing with them. "Are you crazy?" I asked. She let me know that she was sure (even though she suffers with a moderate degree of neuropathy in her feet and related balance issues) that she would be fine. Fortunately that proved to be true as she had a wonderful time with her daughter and grandkids. Her experience, also suggested several life lessons...
First of all, there are times when our feet are simply not on solid ground!
Many find this to be true as a result of unexpected life changes: the onslaught of a sudden illness, an unexpected loss of a job, the revealing of a serious problem with a family member, the shocking announcements that one's spouse wants a divorce. These (and numerous other situations) can leave us feeling like we are "dangling" and barely holding on.
Second, God is with us in times of upheaval.
We may say to ourself, "Where is God?" But we can be assured God is still there. So many of God's promises are given to assure us of this truth:
"The Lord, your God, goes with you. He will never leave you nor forsake you." (Dt. 31:6)
"Do not be afraid, do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go." (Jos. 1:9)
"I am convinced that either death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that in in Christ Jesus our Lord. " (Rom. 8:38-39
When we walk even through the "valley of the shadow of death" we know that God is there.
Three, God provides "life lines" to see us through.
Like my wife, dangling, 20' above ground, there are places to plant our feet and there are ropes for us to grab. In every situation, the Lord provides a path and if we plant our feet on God's path He will lead us to a place of safety. For balance we hold on to the "ropes" of God's word and prayer. These two "life lines" keep us in touch with God and provide the guidance, comfort, strength, and assurance we need.
Finally, This too shall pass!
My wife's adventure with rope climbing eventually came to an end, and our times of upheaval will eventually settle as well. The time will come when, once again, the ground will be steady and our footing will be sure.
So panic not when when unsettling waves of trial come upon you. Though these times may catch you off guard, they are no surprise to God and He is ready to see you through!
Dr. Allen Schneider is a United Methodist pastor and a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist presently serving the Sapulpa and greater Tulsa communities.