faith · marriage

scrambling down hillsides

I came across a video from our honeymoon recently. I’ve been systematically cleaning up our laptop, deleting and reorganizing countless files, docs, photos, videos, a lifetime of treasures and not-so-treasures. Maybe more on that another time. Probably not. Moving on.

My husband is more adventurous than me. This goes without saying for anyone who knows either of us. But I have to say it to make this clear. When we first met, I had my suspicions. I’ve led the kind of life that makes lots of suspicions. I calculate. I worry. I fear. It’s not that my husband doesn’t. He does. But he takes calculated risks and he knows his abilities and accepts his limitations.

In the video, you can see a beautiful sunset overlooking the Pacific Ocean from a point in Ka’ena State Park in gorgeous Oahu, Hawaii. The clouds rolling by, the ocean waves crashing, the rocks creating a stunning landscape of nature at its very best. And then you can hear a short conversation between a newlywed couple…

The husband is trying to convince his new bride of ten-ish days to climb down the rocks to get closer to the crashing waves. It made me LOL. I remember it now. There was no way he was getting me to get any closer to that ocean in that particular spot. That’s all he needed was to have his new bride die on their honeymoon! He would solidify his suffering Old Testament “Job” status among our friends and family like never before!

Anyway, the point of all this is that just a short five years later, I watch this video and I think that I really should have just gone down there with him. I was afraid. And a lot of people would think that it’s justifiable and that Rob was being reckless. Could not be further from the facts, though. Rob is not a reckless person. And I know that now like I didn’t know it five years ago. I know now that he is fiercely trustworthy and dependable. I know now that he will always protect and defend and care for me, more than I even do for myself at times, and that he would never put me in a situation where he is not sure he could help me. I have every confidence in that now and I grow in that confidence every passing day.

It occurs to me that this is the way. This is how we grow up. This is how we mature. By trust. It’s counter-intuitive. Jesus’s ways usually are. As human beings, we want to be more independent and be able to fend for ourselves. We think that progress is synonymous with more power. We think that our ability and capacity is measured by what we can do and accomplish, either on our own or, at best, as a team, and weakness – well, more to the point, our admittance of weakness – has no place.

It’s the opposite. It’s the object of our trust. It’s the act to believe. It’s not our ability to scramble down a rock, but it’s in our belief that the one who stands behind us will catch us and lead us and give us sure footing as we go.

It makes me think this time of year about the trust so many of the characters in the Christmas story displayed. Mary for starters. Bless her heart, huh?! Young virgin now mom visited by an angel and told she is carrying the savior of all humanity. I don’t think it’s quite like being asked to scramble down a rocky cliff. It’s so much crazier.

Shepherds, magi, Elisabeth and Zechariah giving birth to a son, and of course Joseph – was he just along for the ride or was God seeing to it that a good man would protect and care for his son as best as he could for as long as he could? So much trust all around. They believed in this tiny baby against all odds and conventional wisdom of any era. They believed. It makes me wonder if I were any one of them, would I trust? Would I run? It’s not a mental exercise worth doing for too much time, but it pushes me to consider just how much I do trust in the Lord and take him at his word. Oh for grace to trust him more. “His mercy is on them that fear him : throughout all generations.”

I have tasted His goodness and mercy. He has given me my love. My sun, moon, and stars. My Robot Junior. He is the very picture of a good and beautiful shepherd, the bridegroom coming for his own, the beloved one. I am ready for more hillsides to conquer for the next five hundred years and more…

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