Last weekend I had the opportunity to take some of my teens and their parents to Enchanted Rock. 32 of us went all the way to the summit. The plan was to rappel down the back side and hike back through the canyon. Of the 32 who went, the only ones that didn’t rappel were two moms and their daughters (2 and 4 years old) and one other couple who didn’t need to rappel for medical reasons. The other 26 did go down the cliff, and I am so proud of them!
Many of them were scared, and a few even cried, but with God’s help they overcame their fears, and most are looking forward to the time they can do it again.
This was the first opportunity I have had to rappel with my four year old son. He loves being outdoors, and as soon as we get done with each family camping trip he is asking to go again. It makes me proud that he loves the outdoors so much because that’s where I experience God more than anywhere else.
Azariah was the fourth in line to go down the cliff, and the plan was to put him in his full-body harness and clip him to the back of my harness. Now, my harness is super strong. I got it when I was doing search and rescue in California several years back, and I chose this particular one because of its strength. I wasn’t really worried that it would hold the weight of my son.
However, as we began our descent, and I walked back closer to the edge of the precipice, I clipped an extra line to him just in case. Still, I had this sinking feeling inside of what would happen if he broke free. I was rappelling, and he was attached to me…behind me. Attached to the back of my harness.
So we began our rappel, and Azariah is swinging to and fro and loving every minute of it. About halfway down the cliff my joy stopped. I heard the sound of tearing material.
As I write this, my hands are shaking and I can’t stop the tears. The fear that welled up in me for my son’s life comes back to me today. I just couldn’t get down fast enough.
I got to the halfway point where I had one of my volunteers stationed to encourage the teens on their way down, and immediately I had him checking my harness and everything else for signs of tearing. There weren’t any. The sound I had heard was the odd sound of two carabiners clinking together with webbing. It had made the sound of tearing. Azariah was safe, and soon we rappelled on down to the ground.
Last Friday I was faced with the vision of my son’s broken body on the ground below me. It’s a vision I never wish to see come to fruition.
Sunday, as we sat around the campfire having our morning devotional, I brought Azariah to me and had him sit on my lap as we prepared for the Lord’s Supper. As he sat there, I couldn’t help but think of how God must have felt as Jesus’ body was broken. His own son. His own self. Broken for you and me.
John 3:16 takes on new meaning as you have a near-death experience with your child. God loves us SO MUCH…He did what I cannot do. He gave up His Son for you.
Today, I hold Azariah a little more, and we tell each other “I love you.” I love his laugh more today. Everything about him I delight in. I am so proud of him.
Jesus feels even more love for you and me.
Hopefully you will have a chance to remember the death and resurrection of Jesus through his communion this week. If not, continually remember how much He loves you; how much He was willing to give up and go through for you. And remember how much your sins cost Him. And love Him back.
We will be having communion this Sunday, and you are welcome to celebrate with us at Nichols St. church of Christ. May you remember His great love for you, and may you see how He continues to show you that love each day. If there is anything I can do for you or pray for you, please let me know at 245-1611 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
God bless you! Watch for God!