(~) Dad, I Can’t Move!
The other day a brother in Christ sent me an email asking for prayer. He was feeling overwhelmed and under tremendous pressure, desperate and not knowing which way to move. This didn’t concern just his personal life, but also his ministry.
Recently, I’ve been thinking of another story I heard more than 25 years ago. I can’t
remember all the details but remnants of it have stuck with me. I thought of it again in connection with this brother.
Here’s what I remember:
Henry, a growing boy, lived in a rural area with his father. It was a rugged but beautiful place surrounded by majestic mountains. Not too far away there were a few cliffs that always looked interesting to Henry. He wanted to climb them but his father told him it was too dangerous and he wasn’t old enough.
Every day when the school bus dropped him off, Henry saw those cliffs and one day he decided to again have a closer look.
TEMPTED BY THE CLIFFS
He took the short hike to the cliffs and looking up, he decided that it wasn’t nearly so hard to climb as he had thought. To test this observation, he decided to climb just a little way and then come back down. But once he started he thought he’d go a little farther and again, a little farther until he determined it would be better and easier to keep going and get to the top and walk down another way.
The afternoon wore on and little more than halfway up he started to feel fatigued. He realized it wasn’t as easy as he thought but he pressed on. He reached two thirds of the way to the top when it started to get dark and the climbing became much more difficult. A few hard steps later he realized all the possible hand and footholds were just out of his reach and he could go no higher. Now, to his horror, he realized the light was fading and he could not see his way back down.
Anxiety took hold as he realized he was stuck.
IF ONLY HE’D LISTENED TO HIS FATHER
Clinging to the cliff, he was powerless to do anything but watch the sun go down, feel the air grow cold, and wish he had listened to his father.
With the darkness came greater cold and after several long hours Henry began to despair. He called out again and again but there was no one to hear. Weeping, he hung on.
Suddenly, he thought he heard a faint voice. He thought the voice had even called his name. He strained to hear and now he was sure he heard his name. He cried out and in return the voice got louder. It was the voice of his father.
“Henry! Hold on! I’m coming!”
“DAD, I CAN’T MOVE!”
Now Henry could see the powerful beam of his father’s flashlight weaving back and forth cutting through the darkness. And then the light found him.
“Dad! I can’t move!”
“I’ll help, Henry.” And with that, Henry’s dad focused his light and pointed to a single foothold closest to Henry. “See the light, son? Step right there.”
“Dad, I don’t think…”
“Just that one step, son.”
Henry focused on the light and straining, he took the step. Once again his father pointed the light. “Now step right there, son”.
FOLLOWING THE LIGHT
Slowly, one step at a time, Henry made his way down by following the light. Finally, trembling with exhaustion, he reached his father — and safety.
Henry rushed to his father and they embraced. Burying his face in his father’s chest he said, “I’m sorry Dad.” His father’s response was to hold his son even more tightly, joyous in his safe return.
Now, I don’t know if this story applies to the brother writing me, but I know it sure has applied to my life any number of times. As I pondered the story I prayed, “Oh Father, how many times have I not listened to your voice and found myself desperate and stuck?”
In retrospect, I’ve found myself teetering on the cliff many times. I recognize all the times He has rescued and restored me — one step at a time.
I still climb that cliff and I see others right up there with me. I’m often a slow learner, I guess.
COMFORT FROM THOSE WHO HAVE GONE BEFORE
There is comfort in knowing others have gone this way before and learned something from the experience. It brings this promise back to mind, “In all your ways acknowledge Him and HE WILL direct your paths.” (Proverbs 3:6)
And I like David’s acknowledgment when he said, “Your Word is a Lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” (Psalm 119:105)
There are lots of ways to acknowledge our Father in our lives today.
Here are just a few:
Acknowledging means believing that God has a plan for our lives and it is always a GOOD plan. Acknowledging means that even though we sometimes feel blind we trust that God will guide us, if necessary one step at a time. Acknowledging Him means trusting that His timing is perfect.
I don’t know about you, but that last one is the hardest one for me. Whether praying for healing, looking for answers, or dealing with the pain that even comes from fellow Christians, I want to climb those cliffs right now!
But more and more, I’m discovering if I listen closely, I hear my Dad saying,
“See the light, son? Step right there.”