Saturday was date day with my husband – not candlelit dinner date, but a zipline obstacle course. What an adventure!
The ziplining was great! I had no trouble with the heights or enjoying the ride on the line, but the obstacle course to get to the zipline presented a different challenge.
Two young men spotted us as we traveled through the course, and we had strong equipment to ensure our safety, but there were several places that I struggled to trust my equipment and my guides.
We began with training, which is always good. The spotters demonstrated how to remain securely clipped at all times, how to position our bodies and hands on the different pieces of equipment, and how to use the equipment safely. They even had us practice on a low rope before we entered the actual course. No problem. There were three main rules: remain ‘clipped on’ at all times; trust your equipment; listen to your spotters. Easy peasy!
The first few obstacles were high, but they were not terribly difficult. We had to keep moving as quickly as possible, because others were behind us. I was really thankful for my husband’s prior experience with carabiners and harnesses. He gave me hands-on help while the spotters called encouragement from the ground.
I was feeling pretty confident after I completed my first zipline (call me Tarzan!), and huffing and puffing I continued hooking and unhooking as I moved through the course. I opted for the easier path, while my husband and the others took the advanced course. The two courses came back together about two-thirds of the way through where we reached a point that required us to climb down before going on. Water break! Breath break! Yippee!
I encouraged the other travelers to go ahead for the rest of the course. I needed to slow down my pace. My husband, bless him, stayed with me.
The spotter could see that I was tired, so he tried to help. “This next section is the hardest, but once you get through it you will be almost done.” Miserable comforter (Job 16:2) was all that I could think.
I was committed, though, so we soon resumed the journey. He wasn’t joking about that next part.
We had to cross a series of swinging boards to get from one landing to another. They were of different widths, and they went up in height as we went along. It didn’t look difficult, but once I stepped on the first one, they all began swinging. I was clipped on and technically I couldn’t fall, but my mind just did not comprehend that fact. So, I gripped the side cables with every ounce of strength I had in an effort to stop the swinging. I moved slowly, stopping on every board, gripping those cables (I have the bruises on my upper arms to prove how hard I was holding on). The more I stopped and gripped, the more the boards swayed. My spotter called up to tell me that I was making it harder by trying to stop the swaying; I just needed to catch the rhythm and keep walking. Right!
I did make it across (obviously since I am writing this), but I was bruised and completely exhausted by the time I reached the platform. The reward was a long zip, which was enjoyable. That was the end of physical activity for the day; I was on my way to enjoy a Coke.
I think obstacle courses are supposed to teach you a little about yourself, and I found that my personality (that likes to be in control) really came out as I attempted to maneuver the course. When I go back to the three main rules I needed for success there, I find similarities to my needs for success on the obstacle course of life.
The first rule was to remain ‘clipped on’ at all times. In life, I always need to be in tune with my heavenly Father. My strength comes from Him, and when I am faced with the trials that are certainties in this life, I need to be close to Him. Prayer and Bible study are not preferences; they are necessities for my survival as a Christian.
The next rule was to trust my equipment. If I had really trusted my equipment rather than my perception, I would not have ended the course bruised and exhausted. I attempted to use my strength rather than relying on the strength of the ropes and harness that held me fast. When I am faced with difficult times in life, it is easy for me to revert to dependence on my strength rather than God’s. I have to trust His promises and lean willingly on His strength and provision. God’s got this!
The last rule was to listen to my spotters. Those young guys stayed really close and watched with concern. They had already mastered the course. Who was I to question their wisdom? God sends believers in times of trial to help me; I need to be willing to accept that help.
I also realized one other thing. The course we completed would have been easy for an expert. I struggled because it was the first time I had ever done anything like that. I need to be patient with and supportive of others who are struggling with ‘stuff’ that may not cause me issue. God is working with each of us.
This life is filled with obstacles, and I can’t make it on my own. Thank God He has provided the security of salvation, the equipment of His armor, and fellow believers to travel through the course with me.
Now, if I can just catch the rhythm of those boards!
I Peter 5:10 But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.
Ephesians 6: 10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
Jude 24 Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, 25 To the only wise God our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.
I Thessalonians 5:11 Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify (instruct, build up) one another, even as also ye do.