Last Monday, I went skiing for the first time in my life.
I have been in Minnesota from the southern United States for 20 years, and had never been skiing. As a transplanted Minnesotan I wanted to be able to say I had been skiing at least once before I died, and I thought I was going to.
A group from our church went to Spirit Mountain in Duluth. It was President's Day, and the place was crawling with kids. After learning how to rent equipment, put it on and stand up, I headed to the bunny hill. Will someone please tell me how it got that name? Standing at the top and looking down at the bottom was terrifying (or so I thought).
I watched all these little kids go flying down the hill, with no poles mind you, and I thought, "How hard can it be?" There was a lot of cheap entertainment in that resort that day: me. I think I fell down in every imaginable position. Then, it happened. My daughters wanted to go to the more advanced hill because they wanted to "ride the lift."
I thought the bunny hill was scary. We stood at the top of a run; at the bottom was the biggest ski lift. I couldn't believe I was even thinking about it -- but away we went ... I lost count how many times I fell down. I have bruises where I didn't know I had body parts. My oldest daughter twisted both knees and had to be taken by the Ski Patrol to the main chalet by toboggan.
What does all this have to do with Christianity and faith? I believe there is a parallel. God does not expect you to do more than you are equipped to do. Temptation (like bumps and dips) are part of the human experience. "No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it." I Corinthians 10:13.
Whether your area of temptation is the size of the bunny hill, the four pipe (medium difficulty) or the sky hook (the most advanced run), God will not force you to do anything you are not equipped for. Even more important, he will never allow you to do it alone. There were many people on those slopes, but none of them could go to the bottom for me; I had to do it.
No one can walk your spiritual walk for you; you have to do it for yourself. But there are plenty of us who are willing and able to give some guidance because we have already been that way before you. God applauds us when we successfully finish a "run" and reach the bottom of a particular "slope." He is also there (like the Ski Patrol) to scrape you off the ground with a stick and a spoon when you fall.
Then He lovingly, carefully, gives you a "lift" to the top so you can try it again, and again, until you get it right. God wants us to succeed, and will do everything we allow Him to do to help us avoid the temptations, and become accomplished on the "slopes of life."
Buckle up your boots; tighten your bindings; grab your poles; and let's go ... and trust that God is watching over you.
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