I can remember being a child…I would guess 4 or 5 when my parents took us to Florida.
I remember very little about this vacation other than there was one day when my father, my older brother, and I went to a lighthouse by the shore.
We went in and paid a fee at the desk at the bottom and started up the stairs. The steps wound up spiraling around the inside of the curved wall that I remember being some kind of grating that you could see down through…I also remember the open space inside the stair’s spiral and being able to look down to my left at the entry desk at the base of it as we climbed. I remember feeling like I was going to fall and the fear grew as the higher we got.
At the top, in order to get outside to look out over the ocean, there was a landing on the inside of the lighthouse and then a set of stairs that cut directly across the middle, a ‘bridge’ if you will, to the door going outside.
I do not remember my older brother having any issues with the heights, but I remember being scared and ascending the stairs was awful for me. My father was beside me, bringing me along as we went up towards the platform. But, at the top, I had used up all my courage to get to the point of the platform…but to go out on the bridge at the top, across the middle, when you could look down through the grating several floors down….it was too much for me, too scary…too much risk of falling…and no matter how much my father wanted me to do it, I could not, WOULD not go.
I remember my brother coming back to me and tried to get me to do it, telling me what I was missing. I remember not trusting my father’s hand to bring me over the ‘bridge’. I did not trust the steel structure, I did not trust my strength to grip the rail that had brought me up this far…it was beyond me to move forward. I had used up all my inner strength, all my courage, all of my trust in my father to get to the point where I could HEAR the ocean and I could SEE the sky….but I couldn’t overcome that CRITICAL point so close to a reward that was within my grasp…and there I sat and cried and missed out.
What happened that day represents life in a lot of ways.
There are places that God wants us to get to, places that He leads us to…places that are very scary to us…maybe even a little dangerous. After all, God doesn’t promise us safety, He just promises us that He goes with us. A friend of mine once said to me “God is not about your safety or comfort. He’s about your maturity””. After all, “though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death” is not a verse for the dead. It’s a verse for the living.
My story represents a place where my fear overcame me and I would not go further:
My brother coming back to tell me what he had seen was not enough.
My ability to grab and hold the steel rail was not enough.
My father’s hand was not enough to comfort me to move forward.
My father carrying me was not enough.
BUT YOU know you must….you know you have to…but fear overtakes you
…and you know your dream…that should be happening…is dying because you won’t cross that bridge.
There are places that God wants to take you and you’ve walked up to the platform a hundred times…looked across the bridge to see the sky through the door…to smell the air and hear the waves that you are longing to see…yet you won’t cross that bridge, those critical last small steps…and there is no other way around and all the excuses, all the lies we’re being told, all the lost years….it comes down to crossing this bridge to move forward.
Sometimes your whole life drives you to one small critical item, one path that must be walked before you can move forward…and everything, EVERYTHING becomes jammed up behind you. On the other side of heaven, there is no time…we are eternal. On this side…time is precious and every single day that you do not cross that bridge, you do not move forward can be lost or it can set you back months or years, can delay blessings to you, to your family, to your children.
What is behind us is done…however, what is before us in moving forward can be new. God makes a statement in Joel 2.25 that I have embedded in my heart. He says “I will restore to you the years the locusts have eaten”. I believe this can apply to many of us who are stuck, and once we are freed, we can move quickly to a new phase in life.
When God had brought the Israelites to the promised land, they saw that it was good. They also saw that it was inhabited “by giants” and that they would have to overcome their fear and go in and take the land. That’s how it worked. God took their ‘natural’ abilities and added His ‘super’ on top of it to make it ‘supernatural’ that they could take this land. But, in order to inherit, they had to trust…and in spite of their fear…move forward.
There are things ahead of you, things God has for you…but you must put your trust in him.
Time to put on your ‘big boy pants’, we’re going forward.