As Lisa’s shaky legs stepped onto the zip line platform forty feet above the ground, she froze.
“I can’t do this,” she whimpered.
I reminded her how courageous she had been when she climbed to the top of our tower just a few minutes earlier. Now it was time for the reward—a 300-foot zip line ride to the ground.
Lisa peered over the edge and swallowed hard. Her friends cheering from below looked so small from here. She looked up at me again.
“Seriously, I can’t do this. I’m too scared.”
For the next several minutes I talked with Lisa, explaining the safety protocols, the strength of the equipment, and the thrill she would experience on the ride. With each statement, she grew more confident. But when it came time to scoot off the platform, fear overtook her once again.
“I want to do it,” she moaned, “but I just can’t.” Then she looked at me again with pleading eyes. “Will you push me?”
Lisa desperately wanted to experience the zip line. She knew it was safe. She knew it was fun. But she didn’t have the strength to overcome her own fears. She needed help. It was the perfect opportunity for a lesson on grace.
In Romans 7, the apostle Paul bemoans, “For the good that I will to do, I do not do…O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!” Paul understood that, when our strength fails, God’s grace steps in. He does for us what we cannot do for ourselves.
“Are you ready?” I asked Lisa.
“I’m ready,” she replied as she gripped the rope.
I counted to three and gave her a gentle push. Her friends cheered wildly as Lisa whizzed by on the zip line. And, just like that, a deeper understanding of grace had been cemented in the mind of another teenager at South Mountain Christian Camp.
And, I can assure you, Lisa will never forget it.