It's Pastor Russ's birthday today, so that means it's time to tell me favorite Pastor Russ story. OK, so I have a lot of favorite Pastor Russ stories and quotes ("Don't be naked; it's dumb to be naked; wear clothes in the shower"), but this is the best that's not a "you had to be there" story. I've told it a million times, and I've blogged it before. (Side note: that blog was the first time I ever got a comment. Thanks, Drums!) It's one of those stories I'll be telling for the rest of my life, so I don't feel bad about telling it again. If you've heard it before (or read it before), enjoy it again.
While I was in high school my youth group took a day trip to an indoor rocking climbing course. Most of the climbs were set up on an auto belay system so anyone could do them. Belayer and climber both clip in and they're good to go. The belayer is even clipped to the ground just in case the heavier climber slips. This is great for light-weight belayers like me who are at risk for flying into the air when their climber takes a misstep. It's really inconvenient for both of you to be dangling in the air; trust me.
Anyway, this particular day I'd done most of the easier climbs and decided I wanted more of a challenge. Eyeing up a climb in the corner, I opted to try it. I vaguely remembered climbing this one years earlier as a younger child and I didn't make it all the way up. I wanted to go for it again and this time make it to the ceiling. There was one problem: this climb was challenging enough that it wasn't an auto belay for your average amateur belayer. I needed to find someone certified to correctly tie in my harness and belay for me. Lucky for me, Pastor Russ, one of our chaperones, was ready and willing to do that.
Trying to make conversation instead of standing there awkwardly while he tied in my harness, I was teasing that since he tied me in he was responsible for my falling and breaking a leg. I said, "Now, if I fall, it's your fault."
He smiled and said, "If you fall, it's not my fault, but I'll catch you."
I wasn't really scared to try this climb but that was incredibly reassuring.
Isn't that was Jesus says to us on a regular basis: "If you fall, it's not my fault, but I'll catch you." It's not His fault that we've messed up, but we've done it and He's here to clean up the mess. It's not His fault when we stumble; it's His hand with the firm grasp on our arm to catch us.
"If you fall, it's not my fault, but I'll catch you."
Let Him whispered that truth into your life today.
By the way, after slipping a few times, I did make it to the top of that climb, but I couldn't have done it on my own.