Monday, October 17, 2016

Faith Is Like the Monkey Bars

You wouldn't know it with my joint and spinal issues now, but in elementary school, I was the queen of the monkey bars. I could traverse them forward, backward and even skipping bars in between. I knew every trick, and despite the dress or skirt I was wearing, I was not afraid to show all the boys what I could do. (The girls usually weren't interested. Go figure!)

A few years back, I was doing a fitness trail in downtown Greenville. In between spurts of walking, there are obstacles to deal with, including a wall to jump over, push-up bars to use, and yes, a set of monkey bars. Being my stubborn self, I decided to ignore my joint issues and see if I could relive my glory days on the monkey bars. Let's just say, I couldn't, and I regretted trying.

You know what was strange though? It wasn't just my lack of strength that kept me from traversing the monkey bars that day. It was fear. While dangling from that first bar, I couldn't seem to make myself let go with one hand to reach for the next bar. I was afraid that one arm wouldn't hold me (and in this case, I was right). So, instead of moving forward, I just dangled there like some withered leaf hanging onto the branch with its last bit of strength.

Faith is the same way. It requires us to let go to move forward, and it can be quite scary. We fear that the arms of the Savior won't be enough to carry us through, so instead of taking a chance, we dangle from the bar of what we believe to be security. But just like the monkey bars, we will never make progress until we let go, trusting that the arms of our Savior will get us safely to the other side.

You know what else is strange? On the monkey bars, once you get past the fear, they can be a whole lot of fun (not to mention, good exercise). Faith is the same way. Once we finally release our grip on our expectations and comfort zones, we will discover that living God's way is a lot of fun and also good spiritual exercise.

Sometimes life is scary, and we face situations that seem so out of control. During these times, our default response is to hold on as tight as we can, convincing ourselves that if we let go, everything will fall apart. But the opposite is true. We can't keep everything from falling apart by holding onto it with a white-knuckled grip, but we can cause ourselves to fall apart by doing so. But when we learn to surrender it all to Jesus and allow Him to carry us, everything changes, and we can find peace in the midst of our storms.

Perhaps today you are dangling from that first bar, and you're not sure if you have the strength or the courage to let go and move forward. Let me remind you that God is the God who can keep you from falling, and He has promised that He will work all things for your good if you love Him. You can trust Him to get you to the other side. Let go of the bar. Make the next move. Believe in the God who can move mountains and part seas. I promise you, He will not fail you.

Monkey up!

Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Trust ye in the Lord for ever: for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength: - Isaiah 26:3-4

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