Asbury United Methodist Church
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September 28, 2017

Have you ever been stranded up on a ledge with no place left to go but down?

          Yes, I know…this is a strange question for a Thursday!   But, that place I just mentioned, that being stranded on a ledge part, actually cropped  up in my life some years ago in a place called Winter Park, Colorado.

          I was there trying to do some skiing and the truth be told, I am not from there!!!  I am from here! 

          And, out there are mountains.  And, here there are none!

          Out there is snow!  And, here there is little to none!

          Here is my point, I was about as far away from being a capable skier as someone could have been.

          Nonetheless, I had watched a lot of TV and I had stayed in a Holiday Inn so just how difficult could this skiing be in the first place? Furthermore, I had taken a beginner’s course on the bunny slope that very same morning.

          By mid-afternoon I really thought I had the hang of this skiing stuff. Yes, indeed I had problems getting off the ski lift. To be honest, just to fall off the thing and not have the chair hit me in the head as it went onward was a feat that I was satisfied with.

          So, here’s the deal…late that afternoon I was skiing down a trail and all of a sudden everything went white.  The trail ended and I had entered a broad opening.

          The entire passage back to the lodge required skiing almost vertically straight down the massive side of a snow-covered mountain.

          This panorama took my breath away.  I had never seen so much of that white stuff in my life! 

          The view was spectacular!  But I saw absolutely no way that I was going to get down that mountain without dying.

          I didn’t realize it at the time, such was my fear, but I was clinging to a tree and had just about squeezed fingerprints in it.   Some friends of mine zoomed by and left me stranded there.  Guess they thought I was OK plastered to that tree.

          I would probably still be there clinging today if this old dude that looked a lot like Sonny Bono hadn’t come by. (And, this part is kind of scary. Sonny had lost his life several years before near Lake Tahoe due to skiing into a tree just like the one that I was holding on to.)

          Anyhow, Sonny mentioned to me that there was no way off that mountain except down. And, before he zoomed off he said, “Hey man, you’re just gonna have to commit to this mountain.”

          Easy for him to say! But, I knew he was right.

          By this stage of my skiing skillset development, I had learned how to put on the brakes fairly well. All you do is point the toes of the skis together and they push up a mound of snow in front of you; and, you stop!

          But at this elevation, putting on the brakes was kind of pointless and all this little exercise managed to do was slow me down only a little bit. So, I made the decision to fall down…a whole lot.

          But, I lived to tell the tale. I was the butt of jokes at the lodge and I was reminded that I was so covered in snow by the time that I reached the bottom of the mountain that everyone thought I was a Yeti.

          After all these years, I still think about that incident. I was doing great until I lost hope…but that mountain was so big!

          The same thing happened to Peter.   He saw Jesus walking on the water at a distance.

          He thought it would be a good idea to give it a try himself.  Then, he lost hope.

          At first Peter was like the coyote in the roadrunner cartoon and actually walked on the water…until he looked down.   And, his eyes sold him out. 

          And, he lost hope.

          Peter began to sink and cried out to the Lord to save him (Matthew 14:25-31).

          Isn’t it funny how we can do a thing right up to the point that we realize that we are not supposed to be able to do a thing? I should have never looked down!

          When life has us cornered, we have to simply commit to the mountain in front of us and then go all in for Jesus.  He will manage whatever comes. We must simply let go and trust in his leadership and provision.

          Life will hand us disappointments.   Dis means to go in the opposite direction.  

         When we dis an appointment, we are missing out on a thing that we feel should have happened.  We sense a failed opportunity.   Sometimes, we will find ourselves going in the opposite direction of where we need to go.

          Sometimes, we’ll even find ourselves clinging to a mountain and the only way home is to just go through it. We must also acknowledge that often a chasm exists between our knowing Jesus and making him the Lord of our lives.

          Only Christ can open that door which leads to a wide-open life that promises us a glorious future.  

            Here is today’s game plan:

            Exercise faith. Let go of the mountain. Keep moving. Focus on ordering the small things. Trust in God’s provision for strength, courage and the resources needed so that we can take that next step.     

  Fall down a few times if you need to and access your progress. It might look ugly and you might wind up looking like a Yeti before it’s over.

          But, there is no other path than the one Jesus offers. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me John 14:6 NLT)”

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