The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms… Deuteronomy 33:27
We’ve just returned from our annual staff retreat where, after prayer times, we were given a variety of activities from which to choose. At our beautiful retreat center in the Texas Hill Country, the staff has erected “The Screamer” whose name was not at all attractive to me. But I decided to see what there was to scream about, not sure I wanted to participate.
We approached a flat pasture where two telephone poles were erected with cables stretched from side to side and another cable falling to the ground. The idea was to get into a harness, be lifted up to the top by one’s friends, and then release a cable that allows “the screamer” to swing back and forth between the poles while making a descent.
Typically, I do not like heights. Yes, as a teen I climbed to the top of the Statue of Liberty and I’ve soared down tall mountains on skis, but I don’t like teetering on the edge of a symphony box and looking down at the seats far below. I do not like heights.
But there was something different about this challenge. Trusted specialists had erected the course; trusted friends would strap me into a harness; the trusted camp director would himself hook me onto the cable; and trusted friends would hoist me into the sky screaming, “You can do it. Go, Marthe.” And so, I did. When I got to the ceiling of the clear Hill Country sky, I looked below and saw my friends laughing and smiling. I released the cord and found myself soaring. I flew in circles, and I swung between the poles. Effortlessly, I glided through space until I found myself in the arms of those who were waiting below.
Camp materials state that this kind of experience helps campers build trusted relationships, develop confidence, and promote a sense of being rooted, among other things. For me, someone who doesn’t like peering into the Grand Canyon, I was given a concrete example of what trust is all about. In no way could I have helped myself while I was suspended in the sky, but my friends were ensuring my safety AND my enjoyment.
Trust is not just about having faith in our friends, but, ultimately, it’s about having faith in the One who never fails. When God calls us to a situation, he’s the One who fits us with the protective gear we need (Eph. 6:11-18); he’s the One who has created the environment into which we are thrust (John 1:3); he’s the One who holds the rope that keeps us from wandering into danger (Isa. 41:13); and he’s the One who watches, cheering us on, ready to encircle us with his loving arms (Deut. 33:27).
Would you like to take a ride on “The Screamer?” You’ll learn a lot about trust, about protection, and about everlasting arms ready to enfold you.
Father, thank you that in you there is ultimate confidence, protection, security, and everything we need for this life. Help us to let go of everything that limits us and put our trust in you. In Jesus’ name. AMEN.