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I JUMPED OFF A CLIFF WITH MY TWO SONS

The rest of our trip to our final destination was a quiet one….

When my sons were young our family lived in California and we were always looking for places to go on vacation. I don’t remember where we were headed that brought us by Yosemite, but we were excited to drive through the park on our way to our destination.

I am a huge fan of nature. I am not so enamored with the beach, but I am amazed at the beauty of the mountains. And Yosemite is the mountains; along with lakes, and streams, and waterfalls, and awe-inspiring rock formations.

The park is an incredible miracle of nature in mid-eastern California. As we drove through that day observing the beauty, I noticed a large flat rock formation to our left that stretched from the road we were driving on for about one hundred yards to the edge of an enormous drop-off. I wanted to see that drop-off.

Now, my wife Shirley isn’t nearly as adventurous as I am. We kid her about being more of an “indoor girl”. She loves the beauty and the awesomeness of the mountains, but she doesn’t like camping, or hiking, or mountain climbing. And she doesn’t like heights. Once during the summer I took her on a ski lift and she almost caused both of us to fall off the chair we were riding on because of her terror of heights.

I screeched the car to a halt along the road and challenged my two sons to follow me to the edge of the cliff. We ran full tilt while my wife shouted after us as she followed in much more cautious fashion, “Be careful. Don’t fall off the edge.”

I outran my sons and reached the edge of the cliff first. When I arrived I could see that it was indeed a huge drop-off. It appeared to be at least a thousand feet to the rocks below. I yelled back to my sons, loud enough for Shirley to hear, “This is the tallest cliff I have ever seen. It must be three thousand feet to the bottom.” I saw no problem with a little exaggeration.

But when I got closer to the edge I could also see that just over the edge of the cliff, there was a ledge about ten feet wide and twenty feet long that was three feet below the cliff’s top. The ledge was not visible until one was standing right on the lip of the cliff.

Soon my sons arrived and they too were amazed by the sheer awesomeness of the sight before them. We all gazed for a few moments completely mesmerized, while Shirley followed slowly and carefully behind, still calling to us, “Be careful. You could slip and fall you know.” She was still a good one hundred feet behind us.

I don’t know what possesses me to do some of the things I do. But in that moment I nudged my sons and said, “Follow my lead.”

Then I flailed my arms, acted as though I was falling, screamed and jumped off the top of the cliff onto the ledge that was just below. I could hear Shirley scream in terror, “No!”

Then both my sons did the exact same thing I did while Shirley screamed all the louder. “Oh God no!”

All three of us stayed hunkered down on the ledge out of sight for about five seconds. Then we all got up on our knees and lifted our heads with big smiles on our faces so Shirley could see them. The look of horror on her face was one that MasterCard would have loved—it was priceless.

It was strange though, Shirley didn’t think our prank was nearly as funny as we did. The rest of our trip to our final destination was a quiet one….

Psalm 73 talks about a question that believers in God have asked about unbelievers for centuries. Why do they prosper? Why does it seem that they continue to mock God with their defiance for His ways, and yet, He continues to allow riches and blessing to come their way?

The psalmist writes, “When I thought how to understand this it was too painful for me. Until I went into the Sanctuary of God; Then I understood their end. Surely, You have set them in slippery places. You cast them down to destruction” (Psalm 73:16-18).

But to us who trust Him He says, “He brought me up out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my steps” (Psalm 71:2).

And, “The Lord is my strength; He will make my feet like deer’s feet, and He will make me walk on my high places” (Habakkuk 3:19).

The reward for those who walk with Him is physical, spiritual, emotional, and moral stability with our feet firmly planted on The Rock Christ Jesus (I Corinthians 10:4). If our trust is in Him we will never fall.

My wife is one who believes this. I’m glad she believes in forgiveness, too!

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