Down the Mountain
By: Shawn D. Brink
I was once asked to describe thoughts about my relationship to God. Being a story teller, as well as a Christian, a memory from my childhood came to mind.
I was about eight, maybe a little older, certainly no more than ten. My dad, due to a pre-mid-life crisis, had become enamored with bicycle riding. He had this Team Raleigh racing bike, which he’d purchased used, for about $300.
As for me, I had a used bike as well, but it didn’t cost anywhere near $300. Mine was an old Schwinn Stingray frame, retro-fitted with BMX handlebars and seat.
One day, we rode our bikes to Johnson Park. It was fun to ride there. As rumor had it, back in the 50s, the town had a bear on exhibit there. By the 80s though, the bear was gone. Only the habitat remained.
The habitat consisted of a manmade mountain, covered with rocks and trees, and shrubs. The mountain wasn’t a mountain in the true sense, but more of a mound. Still, I guess it was pretty mountainous by eastern Nebraska standards. People liked to ride their bikes on that mound, so there were a lot of make-shift trails crisscrossing the place.
Well, my dad and me, we were riding on that mountain, near the top, when we stopped to take a breather. I looked off to my right and saw a trail which went for a ways before disappearing behind some overgrown shrubbery.
“I’m going to take that trail down the mountain.”
My dad looked over where I had indicated and shook his head. “That way’s dangerous. Don’t go that way.”
“I’ve taken that trail before. It’s safe,” I said with confidence.
My dad straightened himself up on his bike so as to be at full height, trying to see passed the shrubs. “I think you’re mistaken son.”
My dad gave up. “Why don’t you go closer and check it out.”
Well, I didn’t need to check anything out. I was certain I had taken that trail before, and knew it was safe. Disobeying my dad‘s suggestion, I bypassed the ‘check it out’ phase and started down the trail.
Everything was going well until I passed those view-blocking shrubs and the trail abruptly ended. The next thing I knew, I was sailing through the air, having just careened from a ten foot high drop-off. I landed hard, my body bouncing off the bike’s frame before crashing into the ground.
“Dad,” I yelled as best I could with the air knocked from me. “Help.”
Dad came down as quick as he could. He picked me up, made sure I wasn’t severely injured, and held me until I could breathe again.
We sat there together for a bit, my dad saying very little about the mistake I’d made. After a while, we walked home pushing our bikes, as mine was no longer rideable.
I learned that day to trust my dad. He knew more than me, and in this case, he was tall enough to see over those shrubs which had blocked the danger from my sight.
It occurred to me years later that this story relates well to how my heavenly father treats me. You see, there have been many times in my life when I am standing on top of the mountain with God beside me, and I see a path that looks safe.
Sometimes though, God tells me not to take that path. ‘It’s dangerous,’ he says.
Sometimes I listen, but other times I’m tempted into taking that forbidden trail. It looks safe after all.
Time and time again, I’ve taken those ill-advised paths which are only safe until I ride passed the shrubs. By then though, it’s too late to turn back because I have already left the ledge, and am careening towards a hard landing.
I crash, and cry out to my father, because I am sorry for disobeying him, and I need him to save me from the mess I’ve landed in. The next thing I know, my heavenly father is there with me, at the bottom of that ledge, reaching down to help me up.
Isn’t this a great thing to remember for those of us that believe? Isn’t it wonderful that no matter how many times we sin, God is there to pick us up, brush us off, and help us out of the depths into which we’ve fallen? All we need to do is repent, and call on Him for salvation.
I must be clear, I am not pro-sin. Believers should try to avoid the temptation to take paths not endorsed by God. However, being born sinful, I find myself constantly falling short of God’s standard. So, it’s good to know that no matter how many times I fall, God is there to pick me back up when I humble myself, admit my sin, and repent. This is only possible because Jesus paid my debt on the cross, and rose again three days later.
Call on me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you and you will honor me. – Psalm 50:15 (The Bible, NIV translation).
Shawn is represented by Liverman Literary Agency. He currently has four published novels to his name along with many shorter works. To learn more of Shawn, his writing, or his agent, Christopher Liverman, please visit his website: http://www.shawnbrinkauthor.wordpress.com.