I was standing at the edge of the platform, listening to the instructions for repelling and trying to ignore the pace of my heart beat. This is the one event at camp’s ropes course that I have been pointedly avoiding for at least five years, and here I was volunteering to be used as a test participant for the ropes course training. In the dark I couldn’t see how far off the ground I was, but my memory filled in the details.
As I stepped to the edge, my worst case scenario mind was going through everything that could go wrong. What if I did it wrong? What if I dropped the rope? What if I hit my head on the platform and knocked myself unconscious?
But then I heard a familiar voice from the ground yell, “Belay on!” and I realized that it was my dad who was on the other end of my belay line.
I took one last deep breath and lowered myself over the edge.
The way the event works is that I was connected at two points. One rope, I was in control of. The other, the belay line, my dad was controlling from the ground. He was letting me control my own descent, but the second something went wrong, he would be ready to step in and take control.
Three months from today, Lord willing, I’ll be getting on a plane and heading to Zambia. The plan is to spend three months helping at a mission school in the Northern part of the country.
It feels very much like a step into the dark, going to a place that I know next to nothing about. There’s a part of me that’s freaking out. That can’t think of anything but the things that could go wrong. What if we don’t fill out the paperwork right? What if we get stuck in the airport? What if I get bit by a snake? What if all my luggage gets lost and I don’t have any toothpaste for 3 months? What if, what if, what if.
And then I remember that my Father is in control. As much as I think I’m calling the shots down here, ultimately God is holding my belay line. He is always there, always ready to step in when I need Him.
“And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20 ESV)
When I remember Who is in control, my worries for the future look as foolish as my fears about repelling. It’s human pride that makes me think that I can work hard enough to eliminate any possibility of setbacks or dangers. I can’t. But I don’t have to.
“Even to your old age and gray hairs
I am he, I am he who will sustain you.
I have made you and I will carry you;
I will sustain you and I will rescue you.” (Isaiah 46:4 NIV)
(Ps. I completely loved repelling. Makes me kind of mad about avoiding it all these years.)