“Check out this video,” a friend of mine told me after returning from a trip to Colorado. He regularly takes his Jeep up to the mountains and always returns with a video that makes me cringe to watch. The latest video was him making a right turn on a switchback that was essentially a U-turn on a dime. The narrow trail provided little room even for his small Jeep to make such a turn, so he would go as far as he could, reverse a few inches, turn his wheels and pull forward, reverse again, then repeat until the turn was made. One wrong move would send him off the edge of a cliff where he would fall 400 ft to the nearest ledge. Added to the difficulty was the fact that he was on loose gravel with a steep decline. At one point, you could see he had the brakes pressed; the wheels weren’t turning but the Jeep was sliding on the rocks until it eventually caught enough traction to stop, thankfully before he went off the edge.
While I don’t think I’m brave enough to take such difficult trails in Colorado, sometimes life feels like I’m traversing such impossible paths. I navigate as best I can, but the margin of error seems too small and I’m certain I’m about to slide off the cliff. I don’t trust my driving skills and, at the end of the day, I’m at the mercy of the loose rocks and the power of gravity. Being reminded of my shortcomings during such impossible circumstances can lead to despair and nearly cause me to give up.
Psalm 121 is a fresh source of life in the midst of such difficulty. Verses 5-8 read:
“The LORD is your keeper; the LORD is your shade on your right hand. The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life. The LORD will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore.”
I’m not wise enough to make the best judgments to keep my life from plunging off the cliff, but thankfully the Lord is my keeper! Left to me, I’d hit the gas when I need to hit the brake and vice versa. However, our Lord spared not his only Son to save his children, and he promised to continue the work that he began in us (Rom. 8:32; Phil. 1:6). He continues to keep our “going out” and our “coming in” forevermore; he will keep our life. The promise that the Lord keeps those who are his provides confidence when the cliff seems too steep. Knowing he will keep me encourages me to press on, no matter how scary the trail looks.
The encouraging lyrics from the song “He Will Hold Me Fast” remind me that the Lord holds fast those who are his, even when they would otherwise fail:
When I fear my faith will fail, Christ will hold me fast; When the tempter would prevail, He will hold me fast.
I could never keep my hold through life’s fearful path; For my love is often cold; He must hold me fast.
He will hold me fast, He will hold me fast; For my Savior loves me so, He will hold me fast.
As you navigate the dangerous paths on the narrow trail you’re on, fear not child of God! Look not at the dangerous cliff before you, but rather fix your eyes on the one who promises to hold you fast!