Looking out across the rock face I used to climb as a teenager. Many hours were spent just clinging onto the rock searching for a way up. Not using rope but daring to climb higher each time, seemingly unafraid of the height that we climbed to. Many different trees lined the path and we spent many more hours running through and learning their paths and routes, now sadly gated off for the fear that someone might injure themselves. Trees with rope swings are quickly cut down, not just the ropes taken but the trees felled in case any children bring another rope. Where has the joy we felt gone?
This was one of the hardest climbs at the “Frog’s Gob” rock face in Runcorn. Crumbling sandstone and hard skinned sandstone together. Rock higher up over hangs and makes the climb a difficult and nerve racking ascent to the glorious view of the trees, but there is an easy and safe path around the side. Many hours gone, many happy and pleasant hours attacking a difficult challenge, now many of the routes and places are chained off, levelled and made with a safe flat walkway and handrail.
Are we living in a sanitised world?
I say are we, and by that I don’t mean people living in countries with conflicts and much evil such as Iraq, Syria and such. In the UK we have many, many forms to fill in to just do one simple task, and the amount of time it takes to rile the passions of the country up is exceedingly long and tiresome. Sometimes this is a good thing because we can then not be accused of giving a knee jerk reaction, but many times it also means we do not act, for by the time we have been roused to do something, someone from somewhere else has acted.
I even feel ashamed that I can sit here and write about evil and enduring hardships for Christ, when my life is going well. But it wasn’t always.
There were dark times were I felt like suicide was an option, God led me out of that. Thank you Lord.
There were times when I felt alone; God sent a friend to guide me.
There were times that I lacked direction; God sent some message to guide me.
There were times were I was just plain idiotic and lacked any maturity; God saved me.
Runcorn Hills was and is a place I feel at home. Its overgrown trees and hidden passages remind me of my youth, and we need reminding of our youth because this is were we grow our dreams and hopes.
But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate, 21 desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table.
There are two mentions of Lazarus in the new testament. One is the Lazarus that was raised from the dead by Jesus, and the other was a beggar that was mentioned in a parable.
The gentiles were mentioned by Jesus as puppies feeding from the crumbs that fell from the table in Matthew 15:21-28 when Jesus meets the woman with a sick daughter and sees faith in her and heals her daughter. So Lazarus was worse off than these dogs, there are many out there that fit this description, whose lives are worse than our pets. The refugees, the children and women and aid workers that are taken daily and forced through unmentionable torture, rape, mutilation, forced slavery, sex slaves, and horrendous deaths. There have been times when people have been offended by a post talking or showing a picture about these acts. Are we not sanitising the news, taking it into a box and leaving it there so we don’t have to deal with it?
Many people that are opposed to Christianity mention hell and damnation, but really I did’t find God through the fear of hell (what ever that may be!) or through damnation – but through a compassionate Spirit descending upon me and showing me love and a forgiveness from my sins if I repented. Perhaps hell is a self imposed choice to live in a sanitised world were there is no morals, no God, no sin, just a pure hedonistic lifestyle about self. I would find that torture now that I have taken off the blindfold. Choose to walk the path of adventure with Christ, and not to walk off the cliff blindfolded.
I am blessed and have not suffered like these but at times in my life I have felt like Lazarus in Spirit, and a few times in body, but always God has stepped in to help. The rock face can seem like a hard climb and it can be a danger to take too many cautions because it will stop us from climbing the cliff. It will take away the reality and not help us to learn through pain. We develop strength and technique through trying. We develop nothing from wishing to do something.
I have seen climbers bringing comfy mattresses to land on and myriads of safety devices, ropes and booklets to help climb, they study the wall and walk around wondering how they might get up there. I learnt best from actually just getting on the rock and if I fell off, to turn and land properly otherwise it would hurt.
Some pain is good, too much and we can shut ourselves off from the event, almost like a safety device. Perhaps that is another programmed mechanism that God included in our DNA.
We can all feel like Lazarus and fall off and be hurt, but God comes through, even if at the time it seems that all are against you. Lazarus means God is my help and I thank God tonight for saving me from death on many occasions.
Dear Lord, come soon and comfort your people and let your whole church, every Christian that professes to follow Jesus as Lord and saviour, bring them all together. People are hurting and the church must unite. Even though you will have four different trees in a forest, they are all trees and are part of your forest -come Eternal King Jesus, Eternal Father, Holy Spirit – unite us in compassion and in prayer and action.