Sunday, October 9, 2011

Boulders In Our Path

Several years ago, my dear husband suggested we climb Old Rag. I like the outdoors as much as the next person and I like a good hike, but I was intimidated at the thought of this particular hike. My teaching assistant, years before, had come back with a sprained ankle, scrapes all down her side, and an arm in a sling. But, like the good wife I try to be, I said sure let's go and so we went.

The initial part of the hike was fine, a steep little walk up a leafy hillside, making me wonder what all the fuss was about. I must be some kind of superwoman since this was a piece of cake! How silly of me and how premature the celebration. We soon came to the most challenging bits and I found myself many times wanting to stop, to go back the way we'd come, maybe even call in mountain rescue to airlift me down. For me, it was that bad.

Boulders were everywhere. I mean honking big old boulders that towered over everyone and everything, jumbled up on top of each other like building blocks. They were fun to go around and a little challenging to climb over the smaller ones, but soon we came to a mammoth mountain of several together and the trail went straight up between them. Adding to the challenge was the slippery sides made even more slippery by hundreds of wet sneakers traveling up and over.

I didn't want to do it. I couldn't do it. I wasn't strong enough and I wasn't limber enough and I was scared out of my mind. I stood in the snaky little line waiting for my turn to make the attempt, dreading the humiliation when all of the spectators realized the thing I already knew. I was a miserable failure and a total schlub at hiking with the big boys.

A handful of Boy Scouts went up in front of me and another handful were directly behind me. Even worse, I thought....humiliated in front of 10 year olds. I approached the ginormous rock and looked up at the impossible height and then I noticed something new. The scouts in front of me were on top and they and their leader were holding out their hands to me. I clasped the offered hands then realized that the ones behind me were shoving with all their might from the back and between all of the helpers and my own strength, I was up....up and over!!! I wasn't even embarrassed that little Boy Scout hands had been shoving the rump of a strange lady hiker! With their help, I had done it and it felt GOOD!

Sometimes we feel like our life is strewn with giant boulders and there is no way, absolutely no way we will EVER get over or around. We may have been standing at the base for a long time, despondent and discouraged, and utterly without hope. That boulder is not moving and we're stuck. The thing is, I didn't see help until I looked up. I looked up and saw the outstretched hand willing to help me in my climb and right then, it became possible.

Are you in front of a boulder? Have you just about given up hope? Have you looked up? Take the hand that Jesus offers and let Him help you move past it. I can promise will feel GOOD!


  1. I love Old Rag! It's interesting and fun - the regular walk up the path bores me. Last year I did it with a group of people at night, so that we'd be at the top to see the sunrise. That boulder in the dark is interesting.

    Anywho, I liked the correlation to real life - just look up!

  2. Next women's ministry event!!! Climbing Old Rag at night with Janda at the head of the line:)