Climbing Out of the Valley
August 19, 2010
I just attended a camp the week of July 25th to August 1st organized by Christian Record Services for the Blind, which has been operating such camps in the U.S. and Canada for years. They began in 1967. The beautiful ministry that takes place at these camps no one can really measure in terms of monetary or other quantifiable values. Once a year, people who virtually have no life get a chance to socialize with peers who view them as equals, and those of us who do have a somewhat more interesting life (career, spouse, children, etc) get the honor and privilege of not only having fun but also serving those who have more complex challenges than just lack of vision.
This year, I received the honor of being able to assist another camper by splitting the cost to stay in the more comfortable inn as opposed to the cabins, and in exchange, she got some really great photos for me, since she has a tiny bit of vision. But the one thing I wanted—no, needed—to do most almost didn’t happen. I desperately wanted to climb the rock wall again. I’d done it a few years ago at work—I think 2006. But ever since about last November, I had that image in my mind of the rope harness representing God who holds us up when we can no longer hold on ourselves. (I reference this in my December 9, 2009 post.)
Unfortunately, due to liability issues or something, you can’t go to a particular area alone, and my two friends from the inn couldn’t really participate in the climbing so they opted for something else. The way it works is that they assign activities by cabin. By God’s providence, someone else wanted to go over to that area, so I was able to go as well. I just HAD to make it to the top of that wall, and it had been a while since I’d done anything that required a lot of exertion so I felt really out of practice. But more importantly, I wanted to physically demonstrate God’s strength in my weakness. The climb began effortlessly enough, but as I neared the top, I predictably lost steam. Keep in mind that when you have zero vision, as is my case, you’re expending precious energy locating the next rock, so you can’t disperse energy as efficiently as you’d like. Finally, as I knew would happen, I had to completely let go for a couple seconds and allow the rope to hold all my weight.
Psalm 37:24 (King James): Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD
upholdeth him with his hand.
What a test! If I had not taken those couple of seconds, I might have easily given up. It really boiled down to one question. God asks each of us, “Do you trust Me or not?” If I didn’t trust Him, I would have expended all my strength and never reached the top. All the while I prayed and recalled His promise to never leave nor forsake us, and just as I wrote back in December, those lines repeated in my head: “If you ever feel like letting go I won’t let you fall” from YouTube - Nickelback - Never Gonna Be Alone
As it turned out, I gained bragging rights in the process. I heard later that many of the guys’ cabins tried the climb even though most of the girls passed. Apparently, I not only beat all the guys except one, but I was the only one with zero vision who did it! I didn’t set out to gain bragging rights; I simply wanted to physically express the principle that God never leaves or forsakes those who trust Him. Bragging rights will soon pass because someone will eventually surpass you. But this principle is forever. As the second anniversary of my husband’s death looms, I miss him as much as ever. But I also claim a list a mile long of all the times I felt so alone, and then something would happen to remind me I wasn’t alone at all. I don’t think I’ll ever LIKE this current state of widowhood, but I’m learning to rely completely on the Lord.