I am pretty dull. I know what I am going to order at every restaurant I go to regularly. I watch the same TV shows. I usually do everything on the same time schedule I have had for years. My wife, not so much. In some ways, our personalities are as opposite as they can be. I am very consistent; she is very spontaneous. Her spontaneity, though, is one of the things that I love most about her. She pulls me out of my ruts and into places that I would have never gone without her. She pulls me into doing things such as zip lining through a limestone cave.
My wife and I recently traveled to Kentucky for an anniversary getaway. One of our stops was to an attraction called the Louisville Mega Cavern. (Author’s note, if you ever find yourself in the area, I highly recommend it.) The cave is actually a manmade limestone mine that has been setup for zip lining. Each participant is given a helmet with a small light attached to the top, just enough to light the path in front of your feet. The tour through the cave takes about two hours, with the lines getting longer and faster as you get closer to the end. In the cave there is very little light. The darkness is so thick you can almost feel it.
I am big on being in control. I need to be in control. I need to be in charge. That is one of my biggest sins. It is the root sin of man - the desire to be God. All sin stems from the authoritative clash of God vs man. All throughout the Old Testament man rebels against God, man repents, God restores, then man returns again to God. Then we start the process all over again.
To ride a zip line is to lose complete control. I am a big guy, 6’4” and 260 lbs. on a good day. The cable and harness that they started strapping me to would be the only thing separating me from a 100 or so foot fall that would result in my untimely death. Attaching myself to a steel cable and flying into the darkness over caverns that looked bottomless meant completely surrendering control. When it became my turn to fly out into the darkness, the guide strapped me in and I got on the landing. I could see the full darkness below me. He attached my cable to the line and said, “Don’t worry. Just let go.”
“Just let go?” I have a mortgage, car payments, a stack of medical bills taller than my house, and a wife and a child who depend on my paycheck to eat. But he wants me to trust that I will not fall into a cavern that I cannot see the depth of?
This too is the way it is with Christ. Life for the Christian is by no means a picnic. Once one is declared separate from the world, the entire world turns against him. Satan endeavors to make him reject his choice to follow Christ. At times, the entire world seems arrayed against the faithful.
The only answer for the Christian is faith. Simple? It may seem so for some non-believers. The Christian life is not a popular or easy road to walk. Paul said it this way: “Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. For we live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it” (2 Corinthians 5:6-9).
Even better, Jesus said it this way: “Then Jesus told him, ‘Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed’” (John 20:29). This world demands tangible proof of anything related to Jesus. The world despises the message of Jesus. I believe it is partly because of the message, but the main reason is because it requires they acknowledge they are not in charge. The world desires control. Jesus desires your acknowledgment of His love for you, and then your obedience to Him.
In Matthew 14, Jesus appears to the disciples in the middle of a storm. He calls to Peter to come to Him on the water. The safe thing for Peter to do was to stay in the safety of the boat. Jesus tells him, though:
“‘Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”
“Come,” He said” (Matthew 14:27-29).
Peter got out of the boat. His eyes were fully on Jesus. Then he let fear creep in. He took his eyes off Jesus and began to sink.
“Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down.
Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, ‘Truly you are the Son of God’” (Matthew 14:29-33).
Peter’s need to feel in control is what made him sink into the water. This is a lost and fallen world. Storms are not a possibility. They are a guarantee. When faced with a storm, we can do as the world does: question God, reject His teachings and will for our lives, and turn to ourselves for solutions. Or we can choose to do the unpopular, uneducated, backward thing, and choose to keep our eyes on the One who said He would never leave us or forsake us.
Hear my cry, O God;
listen to my prayer.
From the ends of the earth I call to you,
I call as my heart grows faint;
lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
For you have been my refuge,
a strong tower against the foe.
In other words, "God, help me to just let go."