It's called rappelling. It's the means by which you walk down a near-vertical surface with the aid of a rope around your body. I was fifteen when I did it. I don't think I'll do it again.

Let me state up front that I have some fear of heights. Not like the lady I knew in Argentina that couldn't stand up when she was on the ninth floor of an apartment building. But if I'm in a situation where I can picture myself falling, I definitely experience heightened anxiety.

My rappelling episode started off with me having to walk off the top of a cliff. Backwards. Slowly but surely I made my way down the rock face, with an ever-growing appreciation of the power of prayer. About halfway down, I saw one of the staff members from the camp that I was participating in; he was perched on a nearby ledge. "You need to go to your left," he told me.

"That's easy for you to say," I thought to myself. I was near a protrusion; going to my left meant stepping out in space for a moment or two. Going to my right kept my feet on the solid face of the mountain. You guessed it: I went to my right. Later, when I was about fifteen feet from the bottom, I ran out of rope. By not following the staff member's instructions, I had gotten the rope snagged on a rock and could no longer reach my destination.

The ending to the story is less than dramatic; within five minutes or so, the rope was freed and I was able to get down. But I often think back to that moment of decision, when I had to choose between the uncertainty of stepping out in space and the safety of what I could see and feel. It helps me to sympathize with people who face that same decision in their spiritual lives. How much easier it would be if we could take God to the laboratory, place Him under a microscope and prove His existence once and for all. How comforting it would be to have an undeniable certificate of authenticity from God showing that the Bible is true in every way. How convenient it would be if faith were not required, if we could operate only on what we can see and feel. But it's not that way; to find God we have to step out in faith.

Let me, like that camp staffer years ago, encourage you to step out in space. Go beyond what our senses perceive and step out in faith. I and many others can tell you that God is there, that He is real and He is waiting for you. Take a chance, reach out and find Him; don't wait until you reach the end of your rope!

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We have to go beyond what we can see and touch.

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