In my mind’s eye, I saw a young man climbing up a steep and powder-soft sandy path. He’s about three-quarters up the trail, and if you look behind him, you can see it’s been quite a hike. By the gear he’s carrying on his back, he’s made a day of it on the beach far below. His head is down, and he trudges slowly up the path, you can tell he’s exhausted. He probably spent all his energy playing in the surf and waves and forgot all about the long hike back up to his car. As the path steepens, every step he takes in the ankle-deep sand causes him to slide back a few inches.
He begins to regret being the last person to leave the beach. He rues his decision to ignore the posted warning to vacate the area before sunset. He’s too far up to make it down to the beach before dark, and even if he made it back down, the tide is coming in. He’s got a good quarter mile hike ahead. He knows an increasingly steep and rocky terrain stands between him and his vehicle. Any cars that might pass by up above him can’t see him, and he knows his voice won’t carry far. The winds pick up, blowing the powdery sand in his face and brushes against the bare rocks that make up the upper path. His footing becomes more and more slippery.
He scrambles onward, by sheer willpower alone. His stomach knots when he sees that bit of the path he forgot about – 150 feet of an almost vertical incline. He thought that section of the trail was a lot of fun on the way down to the beach earlier that day. He had just sat on his butt, sliding down with ease. Now the darkening sky makes it difficult for him to find foot and hand holds. Wisely, he doesn’t use the long grasses that edge the path to pull himself up, he doesn’t think they could bear his weight. Even the strength of youth runs out, and he’s reached his limit. A sick resignation washes over him. He’s stuck. No way up and he can hear the ocean’s waves at high tide not far below him.
Suddenly, a deep, reassuring voice calls out. It sounds like the person is on the path but beyond his sight. “Here, grab my hand!” He looks up and sees a pair of legs braced on the steep incline just above him and a strong arm reaching down toward him. Utterly spent, he can’t find the energy to lift his head to look his rescuer in the eyes. Reaching out for the stranger’s hand, he finds himself caught in a firm and sturdy grasp. Even before he knows how, he’s back on solid, level ground.
I asked the Lord, what is this all about? Who is this for? Quite simply, I felt the Lord say. “It doesn’t matter how you got into the predicament you are in, and it doesn’t matter how isolated or alone you feel. My strong arm is always there to pull you up and into my strong embrace. You just have to take my outstretched hand.”
Matthew 18:12 – “What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray?”
Psalm 40:2 (AMPC) – “He drew me up out of a horrible pit [a pit of tumult and of destruction], out of the miry clay (froth and slime), and set my feet upon a rock, steadying my steps and establishing my goings.”
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All Bible verses attributed to the ESV version unless otherwise indicated.
Until Next Week
©2018 Katherine Walden
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