He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet upon a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. – Psalm 40:2
My daughter and I decided to go hiking this past Sunday. Ever since I lost my pastor’s position, I’ve been letting my kids determine where we go to church every week. I’ve never really cared for the mega-churches, but of course, my kids love them. They were pretty much all shut down Sunday, so I asked Caroline to think of somewhere we could go. Even though I meant church-wise, she immediately said, “Can we go and hike Table Rock?” I said, “Let’s go for it.”
Early into our trek, Caroline found a small snail. Snail hunting is kind of her thing on every hike we go on. She carried it all the way to the half-way point shelter. We took some pictures there of her with the snail at that incredible overlook. We debated going back home from there. We were both already pretty wiped out. As we talked it out, we both agreed that we’d never be as close to the top as we were right now and shouldn’t turn back. We knew we would regret it when we got back to the car. I prayed for us, “Lord, help us get to the top.” We went back at it for the second half of the journey. Even though we stopped frequently to eat granola bars and drink Gatorade, we made it to the top. I love what my daughter said, “Daddy, our strength didn’t come from those mountains, it came from the Lord.”
Ever since the hike, I haven’t stopped thinking about that snail. There is no way it could have made it as far up that mountain on its own as Caroline took it. I thought of how many times God has literally picked me up and moved me forward spiritually because I was stuck and going nowhere. How many times I’ve needed God to do for me exactly what Caroline did for the snail?
The situation even represented her life so well. She has fallen quite a few times under the weight and pressure of being a pastor’s daughter. A lot of Christians haven’t been very merciful to her. This has caused her to climb into her shell many times and stop moving forward. Every time she gets stuck and is not moving spiritually, I do my best to pick her up, tell her how much I love her, tell her how God loves her even more, I carry her, I pray for her, and I ask God to somehow let it get ingrained into her soul that this is the only way He treats those whom He loves. I want so badly for her to know that He is so slow to anger, He is so full of kindness, He is so merciful, and He is so willing to carry us when our strength is exhausted.
There is no one like our God.
Who knew that carrying a snail up a mountain carried so many implications?
Looks like we had church Sunday after all.