You Don’t Have To Climb As Far As You Think
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord,
plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.“
It’s funny what you think you hear people say sometimes, thinking you’re hearing one thing when in fact it’s something different altogether. What you thought you heard brings all sorts of thoughts to your mind. Then when you hear what was actually said, many times there is relief!
Recently my husband wanted to bring me through the woods in our area to see a waterfall. What I thought I heard him say was that we were going to climb to the top of the waterfall. I’m not in the greatest of shape but had wanted to start exercising so this seemed like a great thing to do. He told me before we left to get my boots on, but as I got caught up in doing other things, I forgot and just wore my sneakers thinking it won’t be that bad. I should have known better.
As we got to the area, we parked and walked back up the road to an area that we could climb down safely. The woods were filled with rocks of all sizes which made walking a bit difficult. I had to walk down the hill slowly to get to the stream we needed to cross. The area was still somewhat muddy from rain we had a week or so prior. A few times as I tried to step on top of and around the rocks carefully, I ended up stepping into muddy areas. In between I took a minute or two of rest. Then when I came to the small stream, it took me a few minutes to decide where I wanted to step without slipping or getting my feet completely wet. Eventually my husband came back half way across the stream, stuck out his hand for me to grab and said “you’re gonna have to get your feet wet”. I grabbed his hand and stepped on the rocks and in the water and quickly made it across the stream with both my sneakers and socks soaked. We kept going until we got to the bottom of the waterfall. I sat down for a rest as he took pictures. Finally I said “give me a minute alone” and sat to talk with God about some things as he walked off to take more pictures.
As I sat on the rock looking up at the waterfalls, I took a good look at it and wondered how we were going to climb to the top. It went straight up and there really wasn’t any safe areas to walk up the sides of it. Although I did eye some grassy areas and some possible ways to get up there, it would be difficult. I then began to think about some things I’d been going through and started my conversation with God about fear and how I didn’t want to fear certain things that had popped up in my life any longer and I didn’t want to fear climbing up to the top of this waterfall. I knew I had allowed fear to hinder me from moving forward while forcing me to keep quiet about some things when I should have spoken up. I also allowed fear to speak to me when little health issues had risen up. Fear has a tendency to rise up at just the right moments when you are getting close to doing what God wants you to do or when you are trying to stand firm in faith. Fear speaks critical words in your ear when you are trying to do the right thing while others are wanting you to do the wrong thing. Fear speaks doubtful words in your ear when you are about to take a giant leap forward in faith telling you not to budge because you can’t do it. As I looked at the waterfall and thought about different situations in my life, I had decided to practice what I preach and surrender the fear to God. I told him I knew that He would protect me in any situation that comes my way and I knew He will protect us climbing up to the top of the waterfall. As I said this, I felt a soft, cool breeze blow across my face and I called for my husband telling him I was ready. Once he came over, I said “ok, I’m ready to climb to the top.” He looked at me funny and said “We’re not gonna climb to the top. We aren’t equipped to climb up there. I only wanted to climb this far so we could see the beauty from a different angle.” Yep, I misunderstood him and I was glad! I had heard correctly that we were going to climb through the woods to see a waterfall, but because I hadn’t heard everything he said, I thought we had to do more than what he wanted to do. Plus, thinking back, I remembered I hadn’t fully paid attention to him when he was talking to me about it.
Sometimes when we don’t take the time to really sit and be with God and we allow other things to distract us, we will only hear some of what He is saying and we end up misunderstanding what He wants us to do. When we take the time to be with God, pray and read His Word, He will minister to us what He wants us to do. If we don’t give Him enough time, we will only hear part of what He’s saying and may try to do something we aren’t equip to do yet and that can be dangerous and disastrous. Sometimes God only wants us to walk and/or climb so far so we can see things from a different angle…His angle…so we can see the beauty of whatever it is He wants us to see. Perhaps it’s the beauty of His creation or the situation He’s put us in. We may have to walk over rocky terrain and get our feet wet and muddy if we don’t wear the right shoes, but in the end the little bit of difficulty we had getting to where He wants us to go will be worth it and the pain we felt getting there will be short and just a memory. On the way back to our truck, I surprisingly felt good climbing up the hill to get to the road and made it back with little difficulty.
On the way back and throughout the week I kept thinking about that day and how it applied to my situations. I didn’t have to strive to climb higher to overcome my situation. All I had to do was get to a certain point and allow God to do the rest and then I would see the beauty of the situation from a different angle…God’s angle. Sometimes the enemy will try to deceive us into thinking we must do more than we should, drawing us into his territory, knowing we aren’t equipped to handle it. That is when he can defeat us. But when we take the time to be with God and really listen to Him, He will let us know how far we should go before He takes over.
A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.
Take a moment to be with God today and ask Him to show you if you are in the right spot or if you are about to climb to a place you aren’t equipped to climb to yet. Sometimes we need to take a moment to make sure we have received clear directions or if we heard them incorrectly. Then ask Him for the wisdom to help you to do the work He is asking you to do.
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.