Recently I had a friend send me a carabiner (the tool that helps rock climbers’ ropes stay connected to their harnesses) and a note that said, “Take this and keep hanging on. Praying for you.” It was another message of encouragement God sent my way and now I want to send your way.
“Keep hanging on” is a message so many of us who are facing difficulties in life need to hear. Those of you who know me or have read my past articles know that I have been battling Chronic Lyme Disease, POTS (Postural, Orthostatic, Tachycardia Syndrome) and a TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) for over 4 years. I’m bedridden, battle constant nerve pain throughout my body, vision problems, motor skill loss, and a number of other symptoms. Your trial may not be a physical illness, or maybe it is, but I want to encourage you wherever you’re at in life not to give up, keep breathing, keep asking God to help you through the day, and keep hanging on!!
God gave me a vision that I relate to, and I think you might as well.
The Rock Climber:
I saw a rock climber on the side of a mountain, she was only a few feet away from the top, and very high up. It had been a long journey. She started with a group of people, both men and women, but lost everyone along the way. She was the last climber to survive, and was weary. Her legs had given out and were dangling– leaving the climber with only her arms holding her body up. Unfortunately the climber lost grip with her right arm and only the left arm was holding her entire body weight. She felt as if she didn’t have enough strength in one arm to pull herself up. There was a part of her that just wanted to just let go and be done with this exhausting climb.
As the climber pondered whether she should let go and be done with it, or keep holding on, I saw Jesus come to the ledge of the mountain and kneel down. He was glowing with light though I could not see His face. Here He is, the King of the Universe, yet He thought nothing of lowering Himself down on bended knee to get closer to the climber. Then the rock climber appeared as a man instead of a woman (Representing this vision is applicable to all of God’s children, both men and women.) The climber then looked at Jesus and without saying anything asked Jesus for help. Jesus, could see the cry for help in his eyes. The climber was so worn out, and his eyes had lost hope. He didn’t believe that he had the strength to keep climbing. The fact is he actually didn’t have the strength to keep climbing. But the man looked at Jesus with a helpless cry in his eyes and asked Jesus to pull him up.
Jesus extended His hand down. The climber swings his body with all his might towards Christ. He had to let go with the one hand that was holding on in order to reach Christ’s hand. So he did and grabbed onto Jesus’ hand. Jesus is now holding the climber’s entire body with one hand.
This climber’s entire countenance has changed. He’s dangling over thousands of feet, but relieved and at rest because he knows God is holding him up and God will never let go. The climber keeps changing from a man to a woman in this vision, again representing this applies to both men and women. They’re safer than they’ve ever been. Jesus pulled the climber up and into His arms. They look like a child in size compared to how big the Lord is. The climbers throw themselves into Christ’s arms. They are safe, they are in Jesus’ arms.
I often feel like that rock climber hanging off the ledge of a cliff. Sometimes I’m not sure if I have the strength to get through another 5 minutes let alone another few hours when my pain is so high, or my body is so weak I can’t move. Maybe it sounds like the “right thing to say” or a cliché when I say that; “The only thing that has given me strength to keep hanging on is Jesus.” But I am being honest when I say that. I know God doesn’t just fix things. He doesn’t always take away our trials. He doesn’t always do what we ask Him to do. I know that well. But I also know that when I’ve asked him for help with desperation pouring out of my soul I’ve seen Jesus reach that hand down to me and help pull me up the mountain just like He did for the rock climber.
His hand reaches down and helps me in ways I don’t expect. Sometimes when I’m in pain and I ask Him for help I notice that within the next few hours (or minutes) the pain becomes more bearable. Sometimes my symptoms DON’T change, but my HEART DOES. I go from being hopeless to being at peace. Sometimes I have more strength to push through the symptoms. Sometimes He has somebody reach out and give me encouragement. Sometimes He reminds me of a Scripture or a song that puts my soul at ease. He doesn’t always answer the way I want (which is to completely heal me so that I can get out of bed and never experience another symptom again). But He does answer. I feel humbled that the God of the Universe would listen to my cry and give me whatever it is I need (even if it’s not what I asked for).
Now we all know that a good parent doesn’t always give their child everything they ever ask for. Why?? Cause the parent knows better than the child. They know what will happen if they give the child what they ask for, and the end result may not be a good thing in the long run. The parent knows what the child needs. I don’t know the reasons why God doesn’t just take away our trials, but I know there ARE reasons bigger than we can imagine. Even when He doesn’t give us what we ask for, it doesn’t mean He is numb to our pain. It hurts Him when He sees our suffering.
Recently I’ve had the privilege of meeting a new friend who’s name is Jordy. Jordy is suffering and I believe it hurts God to see Jordy’s pain. But something beautiful I see in Jordy’s suffering is that even though he is going through his own trial he still reaches out to me with kindness and encourages me to keep going. He is the one who sent me the carabiner and the note I mentioned in the beginning of this article. He is like that rock climber who is hanging from the ledge, but he chooses to keep hanging on.
A few years ago Jordy was in a skiing accident which resulted in him hitting his head and acquiring a severe TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury). Ever since that day Jordy’s life has never been the same. His vision has never been the same… yet I imagine he probably sees things he never saw before (I mean seeing the world different, and gaining understanding and compassion).
He cannot handle any light. And even the dimmest light will cause brain pain, sickness, confusion, and a host of other symptoms. He’s basically a blind man, but on top of that any light causes Jordy much discomfort. He lives in a dark room. No TV or social media. Visits with friends have to be short. He can’t talk on the phone without paying for it physically, and he faces a lot of other symptoms. Though his life is hard, he knows what it means to “Keep Hanging on”.
I greatly admire his strength and perseverance. I imagine he doesn’t feel like much of an inspiration cause he knows his own struggles. He probably doesn’t feel that strong and he probably doesn’t want to keep persevering… but he does. That’s what we all must choose to do. Even when we don’t feel strong, and we don’t want to persevere, we need to push through. Be like the rock climber that does not give up, but looks up to God for help.
When we stop relying on our own strength and ask Jesus to hold us up it changes our world. That’s what happened in the story of David and Goliath, David looked to God’s strength and he defeated the giant. (1 Samuel : 17). There was a war between the Israelites and the Philistines. Finally it came down to a battle that everyone would watch between two men. So the Philistines sent their undefeated, strongest warrior out there, Goliath. He was over nine feet tall and his very appearance pierced fear into the hearts of the Israelites. But one young boy (we think he was around twelve) with no battle experience ended up volunteering to fight this giant.
David was NOT a soldier and had not been fighting this war. He was a shepherd boy. Three of his older brothers were soldiers who had been fighting this war. The only reason David ended up in the battle camp is because his father sent him with food for his brothers. How many of us end up in situations that we never imagined would happen to us?? I never imagined I’d be bedridden and chronically ill. Sometimes we end up in these battle camps and all we can see is the giant in front of us, or the cliff we are hanging off of. But Jesus told us that, “With God all things are possible.” Mat 19:26
David was younger and physically weaker than the rest of the soldiers. But he knew that though he was weaker than the rest, His God was strong!!
2 Corinthians 12:9 But he said to me, “My power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”
As David went towards Goliath he cried out, “You come against me with sword and spear, but I come against you in the name of the Lord.” David defeated Goliath with a sling shot. There’s no way he could of done this, but God was with Him, and anointed Him so he could defeat the giant. God will do the same for you and me, in our weakness His power is able to help us stand against our giants. His power will reach down to us when we are hanging off a mountain and pull us up into His arms. David chose to hang onto God and that’s why this story has become inspiring and famous. God can do the same with us if we keep hanging onto Him.
Don’t let go and fall off the cliff. Don’t listen to the discouraging thoughts that constantly come to your head. Instead think about the times God has been there for you and believe that He’ll be there for you through this journey, because He will. Keep hanging onto the Lord, keep hanging on in the storm, keep hanging onto your humanity, keep hanging on when you want to give up.
Romans 5:3-5: “Suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”
I’m reminded of a song by Avril Lavigne called “Keep Holding On.” It’s not a Christian song but I think of the lyrics as words God says to us. So I’ll end with these lyrics, I hope they can encourage you like they encourage me. As always I am praying for you all and the struggles you’re facing. If you want to follow my articles you can subscribe to this blog. If you want to follow my personal health journey you can like my facebook page “Rachel’s Radical Road” at: facebook.com/radicalroad
Keep Holding On- Lyrics
You’re not alone
Together we stand
I’ll be by your side
You know I’ll take your hand
When it gets cold
And it feels like the end
There’s no place to go
You know I won’t give in
No, I won’t give in
Keep holding on
‘Cause you know we’ll make it through
We’ll make it through
Just stay strong
‘Cause you know I’m here for you
I’m here for you