Mountain Climbing

I could never get into mountain climbing due to my aversion to cliff hangers. But seriously, the best mountain climbers are meticulous planners, who do spend time thinking about the end of their story on any particular climb. They’re among the last people to commit to something without knowing how they plan on it ending. Climbing the white cliffs of Dover, England, for example, has its own particular hazards, due to the material one is attempting to climb on. Apparently it’s much like climbing ice. In Dover, climbers use ice axes and crampons to climb crumbling white chalk, driving ice pitons to secure lines. As they swing their axes in as deep as possible to gain each new purchase, sometimes large pieces of chalk fall away. Besides carefully thinking through each route, a large dose of strength, patience, and nerve is also essential. Why climb it at all? The answer to that question surely must vary, depending on who you ask, but the sheer difficulty and challenge has to measure in. If everyone could, and everyone would, the “want to” would probably be lacking.

The Christian life has its parallels to mountain climbing. Although salvation is a free gift, I wonder if our walk should more accurately be called a climb. There are skills to be learned, a book of knowledge to be poured over. There is a secure rope which ties us to God and keeps that one misstep from being your last. We all are tempted to climb on our own at times without the aid God wants to give us to keep us safe. Often what appears to be a step toward freedom is in reality temptation by unfriendly forces in our life which could cause us to fall. The Christian discipline of assisted climbing will get you to the top, but holding on to God on your way requires a certain special kind of strength He gives you as you reach for it.

I look up to the mountains and hills, longing for God’s help. But then I realize that our true help and protection come only from the Lord, our Creator who made the heavens and the earth. He will guard and guide me, never letting me stumble or fall. God is my keeper; he will never forget nor ignore me.
Psalm 121:1-3 TPT


Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Hebrews 4:16 ESV


I tried to climb
unassisted
In my mind
I didn’t need it
I got this God I said
I’ve got my own control
But solo climbing
action

couldn’t hold
any traction
when storms and gravity
threatened
to take it all
So Jesus
throw me a line
when I’m about me
in my mind
To the top
I’m beseeching
where heaven’s greeting us all


©Joel Tipple 11/9/2019


Vision

cropped-redwood.jpg

much is expected from whom much is given

but all the same

so much more

He will do

through His children

the children of the Lord

often He waits only

for the moment we dare to ask

and then step out

believing He wants

to strengthen our bodies

for the task

our minds, too

to focus

on not small things

but great

for there is victory

in climbing daunting mountains

and reaching for a higher fate

© Joel Tipple

8-10 So don’t be embarrassed to speak up for our Master or for me, his prisoner. Take your share of suffering for the Message along with the rest of us. We can only keep on going, after all, by the power of God, who first saved us and then called us to this holy work. We had nothing to do with it. It was all his idea, a gift prepared for us in Jesus long before we knew anything about it. But we know it now. Since the appearance of our Savior, nothing could be plainer: death defeated, life vindicated in a steady blaze of light, all through the work of Jesus.

11-12 This is the Message I’ve been set apart to proclaim as preacher, emissary, and teacher. It’s also the cause of all this trouble I’m in. But I have no regrets. I couldn’t be more sure of my ground—the One I’ve trusted in can take care of what he’s trusted me to do right to the end.

13-14 So keep at your work, this faith and love rooted in Christ, exactly as I set it out for you. It’s as sound as the day you first heard it from me. Guard this precious thing placed in your custody by the Holy Spirit who works in us.
2 Timothy 1 8-14 (MSG) The Message