Have you ever slid down a pole at the playground, pretending to be a fireman? Or gone to a children’s museum where they had a brass one installed from the second floor to the first, where you put on a jacket, boots, and fireman’s hat before sliding down, landing at the foot of a real fire truck sitting inside the museum? Or have you been at the top of such a pole and been afraid to take that leap onto the pole?
One year, while teaching in Washington, D.C., I took my K-1 class to the Children’s Museum, a bus ride and short walk away from our inner city school. (In looking for that museum online before writing this, it looks like that building is gone now. but there is a new National Children’s Museum in Prince George County, only open a year or so now.) It was fun and delightful for the children and for me as I watched them immerse themselves in pretending, allowing their imaginations to bloom with possibilities and dreams…careers…arts…machinery and equipment…on and on. All of this gave these young children ways to dream as well as to escape the realities of their harsh worlds of inner city violence, drugs, sex, and other hard things, for all of us, let alone little children.
I don’t say that we need to escape our realities for our God knows right where we are. God is there right beside us. But, sometimes, just sometimes, we need a break from the hard things in life. We need the comfort of a mother’s arms, the strength of a father’s stance before and beside us, the love of family and true friends. I watched and read Kara Tippetts and her family live death on their blog, in books, on videos, in photos. Hard stuff. Real life. Kara and her family had and, now, still have all those arms, the comfort, the strength, the love near them, yet when the night falls and the family is alone, they remember that Kara has gone to be with Jesus. The children do not have their mother. Jason’s wife is missing from his side. Not forever. One day, they will all be together with the LORD. One day. And Kara is whole now.
We are human and fear creeps in and takes over sometimes… afraid to leap forward and grab that pole … afraid to trust God Who works all things together for good to those who love Him … fear that we will not be caught when we lean back against the unknown. Fear holds us in its grip and we can do nothing. The brass pole stands before us and we are frozen with fear.
The LORD is my Rock, and my Fortress, and my Deliverer; my God, my Strength, in Whom I will trust; my Buckler, and the Horn of my salvation, and my High Tower. Psalm 18:2
He is right there … ready to catch us …ready to hold us … ready to be All to us and for us. We are called to trust … TRUST.
The LORD is good, a Stronghold in the day of trouble; and He knoweth them that trust in Him. Nahum 1:7
The child in each of us needs to slide down that brass pole right into the arms of the LORD, into His Word, into His Truth, into forgiveness, away from sin, away from all that holds us back from the beauty that God wants for each of us. Slide … slide onto the path that He has just for each one of us … JUST.FOR.US! Can you sense yourself taking that quick leap onto that sturdy brass pole, wrapping your arms and legs around it and just go…go…go…to God. I can feel the strength of this pole and the love awaiting me when I reach His arms. Yes, LORD, I am coming to You.
And He took a child, and set him in the midst of them: and when He had taken him in His arms, He said unto them, Whosoever shall receive one of such children in My Name, receiveth Me: and whosoever shall receive Me, receiveth not Me, but Him that sent Me. Mark 9:36-37
Safe in the arms of Jesus,
Safe on His gentle breast,
There by His love o’ershaded,
Sweetly my soul doth rest. **
Abba Father, I felt Your call upon this life of mine. I know that You want me wholly. Guide me away from all that defines my life as worldly, as sinful, as not-of-You. Mold my heart to be more and more like Jesus… that I would forgive when I need to and to whom I must. Abba Father, thank You for Your forgiveness of my many misplaced steps in this life. I came to You as a prodigal. You were there with arms open wide and waiting for me to step into them. Thank You, LORD. Thank You. I came sliding in, at first with hesitancy, with fear, because it seems a long way to You. I slide … I go and I come to You again and again. Your arms are warm and filled with such love.
Father, I know this for myself. I pray for those children whom I once taught in Washington, D.C. and ask that Your love guide them into Your arms if they are not there already. I pray that they will recall the day at the museum and the brass pole. For those who came down without fear, I pray they come sliding into Your arms, seeking Your face, Your forgiveness, and Your love. For those who were afraid to go down and walked back down instead, erase any and all fear and trepidation, LORD. I pray for family and friends who do not know You and ask the same for them whether they have played on a brass pole or not. Give them one and may Your message be clear so that they will desire You, and only You, and come sliding to You.
As I am sliding to You, LORD, I pray in the Holy Name of Jesus, Your Son. Amen.
**Safe in the Arms of Jesus: lyrics by Fanny Jane Crosby (1820-1915), music by William Howard Doane (1832-1915)
Second Photo: by Wendy Pramik http://www.examiner.com/article/learn-about-fire-safety-slide-down-a-pole-at-the-central-ohio-fire-museum
Fourth photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jdkahn/5758603835/