Stepping Out In Faith
"In 1988, three friends and l climbed Mount Lyell, the highest peak in
Yosemite National Park. Two of us were experienced mountaineers. I
was not one of the experienced two. Our base camp was less than 2,000
feet from the peak, but the climb to the top and back was to take the better
part of a day, due in large part to the difficulty of the glacier one must cross
to get to the top. The morning of the climb we started out chattering and
As the hours passed, the two mountaineers opened up a wide gap between
me and my less-experienced companion. Being competitive by nature, I
began to look for shortcuts to beat them to the top. I thought I saw one to the
right of an outcropping of rock--`so I went, deaf to the protests of my
Perhaps it was the effect of the high altitude, but the significance of the two
experienced climbers not choosing this path did not register in toy conscious-
ness. It should have, for thirty minutes later I was trapped in a cul-de-sac of
rock atop the Lyell Glacier, looking down several hundred feet of a sheer slope
of ice, pitched at about a forty-five degree angle... I was only about ten feet from
the safety of a rock, but one little slip and I wouldn't stop sliding until I landed in
the valley floor some fifty miles away! It was nearly noon, and the warm sun had
the glacier glistening with slippery ice. I was stuck and I was scared.
It took an hour for my experienced climbing friends to find me. Standing on the
rock I wanted to reach, one of them leaned out and used an ice ax to chip two
little footsteps in the glacier. Then he gave me the following instructions: 'Ben,
you must step out from where you are and put your foot where the first foothold is.
When your foot touches it, without a moment's hesitation swing your other foot
across and land it on the next step. When you do that, reach out and I will take
your hand and pull you to safety.'
That sounded real good to me. It was the next thing he said that made me more
frightened than ever. 'But listen carefully: As you step across, do not lean into the
mountain! If anything, lean out a bit. Otherwise, your feet may fly out from under you,
and you will start sliding down.'
I don't like precipices. When I am on the edge of a cliff, my instincts are to lie down
and hug the mountain, to become one with it, not to lean away from it! But that was
what my good friend was telling me to do. I looked at him real hard.... Was there any
reason, any reason at all, that I should not trust him? I certainly hoped not! So for a
moment, based solely on what I believed to be the good will and good sense of my
friend, I decided to say no to what I felt, to stifle my impulse to cling to the security of
the mountain, to lean out, step out, and traverse the ice to safety. It took less than
two seconds to find out if my faith was well founded. It was."
To save us, God often tells us to do things that are the opposite of our
natural inclination. Is God loving and faithful? Can we trust him? Yes, and yes!
Addendum -- Hebrews 7:23, 25 By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament . . .
Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come
unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.
[ Ben Patterson, from 'Waiting' -- sent by GAgirl@flash.net ]
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