Several years ago, when my children were much younger, some very dear friends of mine came over to watch our cherubs while my husband and I went to a conference. When we returned, we were exhausted. I fell onto the couch and did not want to get back up again. My friends were watching Bonanza, one of my favorite shows from my childhood. I sat back and began to watch the events unfold on the screen. I missed the beginning of the episode so I don’t know how all this started. All I saw was Little Joe looking up and seeing his rifle stuck on a very high mountain, with apparently no way to retrieve it. He was quite upset by this and seemed on the verge of exploding in anger, however he remained calm. His friend was with him and I guess he didn’t want to give a bad impression. Little Joe became angrier and angrier about losing his rifle. Several times he rode by the mountain where his rifle still hung. He would stare longingly up at it as if to will it down with his mind. It took me awhile to understand why Joe was so upset over this rifle. He lived on the Ponderosa. His father was a rich rancher. He had plenty of other rifles, why was this one so important? Then, it hit me! It wasn’t the rifle he was upset about; it was the fact that he couldn’t retrieve it because he was afraid of heights. As more of the story unfolded it became crystal clear that this was the issue. So here Little Joe was, afraid, without his rifle, and probably feeling less of a man because he could not overcome his fear. I watched in amazement as he decided he could overcome this obstacle without any help. He parked his horse at the base of this huge mountain and began the harrowing trek up the face of it. There were hardly any foot or handholds and poor Joe was getting dizzier by the second. When he was about three-quarters of the way up, his father shows up. Isn’t that just like our parents, just when we are in the middle of doing something really dumb, they catch us? Pa Cartwright knows what’s going on with his son. He knows his child; he knows his fear. Pretty soon, in all his wisdom, Pa starts to climb to rescue his son. By this time Little Joe is frozen with fear and cannot move from his place on the face of this mountain and let me tell you, it was a long way down. “Slide down to me Joe, come along side me, I’ll catch you,” Pa calls. “I can’t Pa, I’m afraid!” Pa seems a little frustrated with his youngest child. Just as he starts to take another step up this steep mountain, he slips. He screams for Joe. “Joe I need you! Help me!” Wouldn’t you know it, Joe left his lasso on his horse. “Get the rifle Joe, you have to get the rifle and use it to pull me up.” (You don’t think his dad planned this do you?) Joe takes one precarious step after another and reaches the rifle. He and his father work together to climb the mountain and Little Joe conquers his fear. Isn’t it just like us, in all our humanness to try to do things on our own? We can’t make it on our own although we try. That’s when we end up on a mountain ledge with, what seems to be, no way out. We get scared. That’s when our Father calls to us. “Come along side me.” “I’ll catch you.” “Let’s do this together.” God knows we are afraid. God knows what scares us, but He has promised to never leave us, to always be with us. There are countless scriptures that speak of this crucial truth.
Psalm 23:4 “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.” Deuteronomy 31:6 “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Joshua 1:5 “…As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
God sent His Son to rescue you. Yes, you! He is with you. Right now, right where you are. In the middle of your trials and turmoil, He is beside you. Perhaps you feel alone and you can’t make it through. That you will never reach the end of whatever you are going through. Ask your Father for help, surrender to Him, and allow Him to help you through. Because you can’t make it on your own but with God, all things are possible. (Philippians 4:13 “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.”)