Any Christians out there have the “following Christ” thing down to perfection? No? Didn’t think so. Every honest Christian I know goes through the despair of ever getting it right. Our best laid plans…
We are klutzes. Stumblebums. We slip on banana peels. Our spirits are willing, our desires pure, but we mess up trying to carry them out.
I freely admit I’m a klutz, both in physical coordination and in my spiritual walk.
One particularly embarrassing incident occurred in high school involving a dinghy on a romantic little inlet off the bay one lovely autumn afternoon. As we pulled up to the private dock, my date (let’s call him George to protect his identity!), realized he didn’t have a rope so he could moor us to the post. “Just stand in the boat and hold on to the dock till I get something,” he told me.
Seemed simple. As he headed toward a nearby shed, the boat began to pull away, and my weight and strength were not enough to pull it back against the dock. I had to make a choice: let go of the post and drift away with the boat or hang on to the pile and fall out of the boat.
I’m sure George disagreed with my decision. Remember, I’m a klutz. I didn’t trust my own rowing abilities to get me back to the dock. In my defense, I did try to hang on to the boat to the very end with the tops of my feet as my five foot five inches stretched between the dock and the dinghy.
George returned to find me hanging on to that post with my lower half submerged. Always a gentleman, he hauled me up on the boards first, then jumped in the water to chase down his boat. That might have been our last date.
I’ve observed two reactions from Christians who are disappointed in their efforts to follow Jesus. Either we hold on to Christ for dear life like a man dangling from a cliff holds onto a rope (having fallen off said cliff in our klutziness), or we give up, say, “I’m not trying anymore,” and live whatever way we please for the moment. To continue with the word picture, we let go of the rope, drop a few feet to a God-provided ledge, then spend the rest of our lives trying to figure out how to climb to the top of the cliff all by our lonesomes.
Meanwhile, God remains at the ready if we would just ask.
By now you can surmise I have dangled from many cliffs, and each time Jesus hauls me up. I can’t imagine giving up and letting go of my only possible means of safety.
If you have let go and given up on God, do you feel your life is better for it? And if you find yourself in even more despair, remember: God will still throw you a rope and pull you to the top. If you ask.