I’m afraid of heights so you can imagine the panic I felt when our crew leader on my recent mission trip to Memphis announced, “We’ll be working on the roof.” My mind raced frantically, “How am I going to do this? I’m going to have to go up there. What kind of leader would I be if I didn’t?” All the while, the thought of getting on the roof terrified me.
The first day we were shown how to put on harnesses and how to “hook in” so that if we were to slip, we could be caught before crashing to the ground. I managed to avoid going up for the better part of the morning, but eventually it was my turn. As I let go of the ladder and scooted up the roof to get hooked in, I could feel my feet slipping. “You’re okay,” Tyler said. “I am not okay,” I answered back in panic. “Yes, you are. Trust me.”
And there it was. The statement that defined what this experience was all abouttrust. I had to trust that the contraption that held me would secure me from a fall. I had to trust that Tyler had my best interests in mind and would not jeopardize my safety.
Eventually I stood up and walked around a bit, never far from the rope that kept me hooked in; in fact, most of the time I was holding the rope itself. Once I became comfortable on the roof, I was given a task: hammer a nail. At first I wanted to hold the rope with my left hand while holding the nail in place and hammering with my right hand. Needless to say, that was not a terribly effective way to hammer a nail. At least five went sailing down the roof. Finally, I acquiesced and let go of the rope. I was far more effective when I focused on my job and not my fear.
My experience was a lot like life. There are times when we are overwhelmed with fear and doubt, when we are certain that our situation is perilous. We need to trust those around us and more importantly, trust God. We have to step out in faith and trust, take those first fearful steps. Being harnessed in on that roof reminded me that God always has my back. I am firmly harnessed in God’s love and even if I fall, God is there hanging on to me.