A few years back I was working as a teacher’s aide at the private school where my children currently attend. The theme for the upcoming school year was, “Walking by Faith.” So as team building/faith building experience, all the staff were invited on an out-of-town day trip to a zip line course at a place called, Out n About Treehouse Treesort. We were all going to get an opportunity to put our faith to the test in this fun little faith building adventure.
This was my first attempt at a “real” zip line. I say real, because we have a short zip line in our yard for our kids which is tons of fun, but it’s nothing in comparison, this was the real deal. We started out by choosing a helmet and then being harnessed up. We then took a short walk up a path to a wooded area where we were given the basic instructions for zip-lining and then given a short practice-run. Soon thereafter the adventures began. We zipped from tree to tree, sometimes climbing small ladders or footholds on trees to reach tiny platforms. Some of them were even as high as 70 feet off the ground. While zipping along, we would sometimes reach zooming speeds of up to 40 m.p.h.
Talk about a thrilling and fun-filled experience. By the end of the course I was feeling quite like Jane of the Jungle and ready to shout out my loudest “Aaaaahhhhhaaaa.” As an added bonus, we were offered the opportunity for one more “faith-building” experience on The Tarzan Swing.
To get a little better appreciation for this hair-raising Tarzan Swing experience, let me paint a picture for you. Still wearing the harness from the zip line, you are secured to an extremely long rope that is then tied to a tree high above. You are then pulled backwards by another rope again secured above while holding on to two handles. You are pulled backward and then upward 50 feet into the air by the opposite end of the rope which is attached to a golf-cart. Once you reach the proper height and the golf-cart has stopped, you are then given the signal to “let go” of the handles you are clinging too.
At this point you are plummeted down towards the ground at approximate 40 m.p.h., an approximate 3 G rush of force (according to the Out n About website) until you hit the end of the rope and are then are swung approximately 65 feet into the air. You then continue to swing back and forth until the swing begins to slow, at which point someone assists you until you come to a complete stop.
Ok, I remember this experience more so than the rest of the whole zip lining course. Why you ask, because it was definitely more terrifying. I remember standing in line waiting my turn and worrying that I might literally “wet my pants” during my turn on the swing. Needless to say, I did not wet my pants and I did survive. I was shaking like a leaf when I was done BUT, I did survive. When given a second chance at the swing, I went for it again, thinking it wouldn’t be quite as bad the second time around because I knew what to expect. And just as I thought, it was still hair-raising, but not quite as intense.
So reflecting back on this “faith-building” adventure, I can find quite a few lessons I learned that day that can be compared with my walk with Christ.
1. Just like it took faith to try the zip lines and Tarzan Swing, following Christ often means walking by Faith in the unknown too. Until your willing to step out in faith and try something new, you will never know what God can do (don’t let fear ruin it for you). Fear is a killer of faith! Without faith it is impossible to please God. Hebrews 11:6
2. Before letting go of the handles on the Tarzan Swing, I was left holding all my weight suspended at 50 feet in the air and it was HEAVY!!! Just like the burdens we try to bear in life, when we hang on to them without giving them to God, they tend to build up and weigh on us. Give your burdens to the LORD, and he will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall. Psalm 55:22
3. When I let go of handles and began the decent, I knew I was secured to the rope which was anchored to the tree. I knew that the rope would eventually catch my fall. This took faith in the rope and just like that rope, God is our eternal security. He is our anchor in life when the storms and the trails come our way. When we walk in obedience and faith, he’s got us, he won’t let us fall. This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. Hebrews 6:19a
I like to be in control and I could probably say with certainty that most of us do. We feel like we have power when we are in control of situations. But the more I grow in my walk with Christ, I find it so freeing to actually give up control and let God be in total control. Because quite truthfully, can we really control situations anyways? When we try to do so, we are putting ourselves in the place of God. I find that giving up control doesn’t just happen once, it is a daily surrender of myself to the will of God. As different circumstances continue to arise in my life, again and again I must hand over my control to God’s will. When we do so, we find our trust is strengthened by a faithful God and we can truly rest secure in Him, knowing He is at work in all of life’s circumstances.
I think sometimes that when we feel things are out of control and decide to trust God with them, this is actually the BEST place that we can be. God shows up on the scene and shows us that he’s been there all along and that only by looking to Him are we truly secure anyway. He is the one who never changes, is always there and is working things out according to His plan for us. He’s the great teacher and I’m finding that in every circumstance, He’s always got something for us to learn. All we need to do is to let go, trust God and then relax and enjoy the ride. It’s a free falling faith into the arms of our everlasting God! He’s got ya!