“Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” – Isaiah 41:10
Isabelle wasn’t coming down without a fight. Our 6-year-old had just climbed thirty-five-foot rock face like a seasoned pro. She had no problem navigating the various rock formations, easily finding a handhold here, a foothold there. Avid rock climbers, my husband and I were beaming with pride when she did it all by herself.
Once she got to the top, her dad talked her through what she needed to do to come back down to the ground. She had done it at least a dozen times in the past, so we were confident she would descend easily without a problem. Suddenly, though, her foot slipped. She spun around, slammed her elbow against the rock wall, and ended up dangling in the air. All I heard was her blood-curdling scream. Actually, it was a series of screams. I don’t think I’ve ever seen her so panicked.
We tried to calm her down, but it was no use. Nothing we said got through to her. Between sobs, she cried out, “I’m scared! I can’t do it! My elbow hurts! I don’t know what to do!” She was paralyzed with fear and determined to stay right where she was until her father came to her rescue.
As a parent, it was frustrating for me to see my daughter struggle, especially when she didn’t have to. I tried to remain patient and loving, but after several unsuccessful attempts to coax her down, I began to get angry. Why wouldn’t she let us help her? Didn’t she trust us? Couldn’t she see we weren’t going to let her fall?
Eventually, my husband climbed up to her. At first, Isabelle didn’t even want his help and refused to move toward him. Stubborn girl. Eventually, though, she took her father’s hand and slowly made her way to the ground. She cried the whole way down.
As we drove home, I thought about how often I am just like Isabelle. Many times I’m hanging out on the side of a mountain in my life, white-knuckled with worry and fear. All I can think about are the what-ifs: What if I can’t do it? What if I make a mistake? What if I get hurt? I cry out to God for His help, but when He reaches out to me, I resist. Yet, the Lord is always the perfect parent. He doesn’t chastise or condemn. He simply waits patiently until I get my act together. If I refuse to submit and remain in rebellion, he comes to my rescue. He brings me back to Himself, even if I kick and scream all the way.
God loves us and wants the best for us. All we have to do is trust Him. Our Father has a tight grip and won’t ever let us go.
Lord, because You are with me, I have nothing to fear. Thank you for giving me strength when I am weak. You are my Rock, and I put my trust in You alone.