One summer I went on a mission trip to New Orleans to help with the continued rebuilding after Hurricane Katrina. The home my team was working on was a three story house in the 9th Ward. Our task was to finish scraping off the old paint and begin painting with the new. Nothing too difficult until you saw the house…
It was a MASSIVE three story house. We had a couple of extension ladders and a simple scaffolding set that could get us to the middle of the second story. For the uppermost points of the house we only had extension ladders. We quickly became experts in moving and setting up ladders as we finagled to get every bit of the old paint scraped. In teams of three we would move the ladder, fully extend it, steady it, and then one person would climb while the other two would hold it.
It was memorable being the one climbing the ladder to scrap (or later in the week to paint). The most interesting part of the climb was reaching the middle section of the ladder. While on the bottom third everything was honky-dory. You are close to the ground and the ladder feels quite secure. The middle third was a little more of a test of faith. It was here where one began to feel the ladder shake with each step. As you were able to keep climbing and reach the top third of the ladder the shaking would subside. Even when you knew you simply needed to push through the difficult middle section it remained scary and uneasy each time. Even at the end of the week we knew this ‘shaky’ experience would come and would not last but we still were a little nervous going through it.
It is similar to our own faith journeys. There are times we struggle and it feels like the ladder is shaking as we take each step. We know cognitively that God is with us each step of the way but we are still scared. We know that we have a sure foundation but it still feels at times that the ladder might slip. At times when we may be unsure how the bills will be paid this month. Or at times we may be struggling in a relationship with a loved one. At times we are unsure of the next step in life. We have hope that God is taking care of us in each of these circumstances of life but in the middle of it all the ladder feels shaky. As difficult as these times can be they do not last. They are only temporary. We continue on the journey to reach the top of the ladder.
“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13)
Be encouraged, beloved. Wherever you are in the climb up the ladder do not fear. Keep climbing rung by rung. Remember you have God the Father encouraging you to persevere, Jesus Christ holding it secure for you at the bottom and the Holy Spirit climbing right beside you. The shaking is only temporary. And take it from me the view at the top of the ladder is TOTALLY worth it!