Through the Waters is the blog of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Christian vocation ministries. Because the ministry of Christian vocation affirms the need for all baptized Christians – including Presbyterians - to identify and claim their call to discipleship in each decision and life choice, this blog is designed to serve as a resource for youth and young adults, as well as those in ministry with them, to assist the Holy Spirit in God’s movement in this journey through the waters. Take some time to read and think about your own responses to the questions posed here. For additional resources, we suggest that you visit our website.
Because our schools begin on the day after Labor Day each year, we have started using the previous weekend as our “last hurrah.” We get an opportunity to do a few things that are out of the ordinary. This year that included spending part of a day at the zoo. Since we’d been there last a zip line and ropes course had been added to the property. Our children who practically grew up at the zoo were thrilled with the new additions for their age group.
Just past a variety of birds we approached the zip line. Visitors had to climb several flights of stairs and traverse a waterfall to get to the top of the hill. Our nine-year-old decided this would be great and got in line to be fully harnessed. I hadn’t even gotten to the prime photo spot before she zoomed past me with a huge smile on her face. Her greeting at the end included something about how awesome it was and how she really wanted to go again before we left for the day. On to the ropes course.
The structure of large wooden poles encircled by tracks for carabineers was impressive. Within the two levels above a parking lot were about fifteen ways of getting from one point to another – a single rope to walk across, a horizontal ladder, and a series of platforms were just a few of the methods. This time both girls strapped in and were off to conquer what laid ahead.
While these obstacles took considerably longer than flying down a wire in the middle of the zoo, eventually the nine-year-old was the first to get off of the course and with a very different greeting. “That was terrible!” we heard. And then, between tears, “It’s scarier than you think.”
How many times I’ve felt like her. I’ve gotten enthused and exciting about something I’ve looked forward to only to be disappointed and frustrated and, yes, unexpectedly scared. This season of fall is one of those times in the year when some of us approach lots of new-ness in the beginning of a school year but all of us begin a new season and a reminder that things have to die in order to be born again. Leaves begin to change color, temperatures eventually dip a few degrees, and what seems to flourish during the spring and summer months no longer seems as lush.
Whether we choose to run full force into these changes or not, we will, no doubt, find that sometimes we’ll be on an awesome flight enjoying the ride and other times we’ll be surprised to find that the journey to get from here to there is more of a challenge than we expected. Through it all, though, God is present with and for us. We’re completely strapped in and nothing can sever that rope.
How do you respond when approached with a challenge?
How do you experience God in these moments?
What aspects of your faith and beliefs serve as a comfort?