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Possible Impossibilities

My introduction to downhill skiing came with a bit of a violent touch. Everything seemed to be going well at first. My instructor had taught me a few basic things about getting around and I’d even descended a gentle slope without any problems. When my lesson ended I met up with my friend. I told her that my lesson went well, although I didn’t mention that I’d never skiied more than 10 feet at a time, had no idea how to turn, and could barely stop. And so she suggested that I get on a real chair lift to ski what she called an easy slope. It sounded a bit scary, but I hadn’t even fallen down yet. The trail was marked green on the map. What could go wrong?

As it turns out, a lot could go wrong. did. As we sat on the chair lift my friend carefully explained how to get off at the top. It sounded like a piece of cake. I just needed to keep my ski tips up until they touched the ground completely, and then lean forward and stand up.

I really did try. When we got to the top I stood up and immediately found myself sprawled on the snow, skis and ski poles flung asunder. My left shoulder and arm seemed to be drastically twisted. I lay there stunned, but without enough sense to let them call the ski patrol to give me a ride down. I figured that now I was up there, I could make it down on my own. Getting up painfully, I collected my belongings and wobbled over to the top of the “easy run”. On the way there, I fell down again, and when I reached the run itself I knew there was no way I was going to attempt it. It looked way too steep for my skill level—and besides, my arm still throbbed. I just knew I would end up in a mangled heap at the bottom, barely holding on to life. So I took off my skis, hiked down the hill, and went right back to the practice slope.

By the end of the day I ventured up to the top again—and this time I made it down a different run on skis! It was even rather fun! And, although my arm hurt for weeks afterward, I wanted to go skiing again. I’ve gone quite a few times since then and while I’m still learning, I’m no longer stuck on the easiest ski runs. In fact, this year I skied down some interesting and challenging terrain. On one of my ski days this past winter, I made my way to the top of that slope I had walked down. My memory of a very steep hill had me feeling quite unsure about it, and I arrived at the top with foreboding. Staring in disbelief, I quickly realized that my “very steep hill” wasn’t steep at all. In fact, it looked more molehill-sized than mountain-sized!

My friends and I laughed about it and my memories of that hill have definitely taken a new turn, but this taught me a lesson that I don’t want to forget. When I’m in the midst of a difficulty in life it can seem too great to bear. But as I practice resting in Christ’s arms and learning lessons in His school, the difficulties that once seemed insurmountable become nothing that He and I can’t handle together. I’m asking Him to teach me not to shirk from mountains, but to lean on Him in every difficulty. He promises that there is grace sufficient for my every need and I know that He keeps His promises.

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