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Lean Back and Live

The arid west Texas sun beat hard on the sandstone cap rock of Dickens, TX. The short drive from the cabin to the rappelling cliff was mainly short because I asked my friend Warren, “Is this as fast as this thing can go?” He then of course set out to prove just how fast and furious his Jeep really could go. I had always thought rappelling looked fun, but I have to admit that I was battling my nerves. The forty-foot cliff had been in the back of my mind all morning. Forty feet may not seem like a long way down, until you are standing on the edge looking down. As I walked to the ledge there was a statement etched into the sandstone cliff calling us to “Lean back and live.&#148

Warren methodically tied all the knots, hooked up the carabineers, and fitted the harness on me. After a quick demonstration, and an impressive, acrobatic display from Reny (a fellow Lifetime Guarantee staff member), it was my turn. I may have looked cool and confident outwardly, but my knees were knocking inwardly. I repeated to myself a couple times, “Lean back and live, lean back and live.” At first leaning seems simple, until you get to that critical point where you begin to fall. I quickly shuffled my feet until I had successfully fallen. A successful fall! That’s an oxymoron isn’t it? One thing is certain: a rappeller always falls! He just hopes he doesn’t fall TOO fast. So I leaned back, made it past the awkward fall, and now the rope has caught me just as planned. My body is horizontal, my feet are on the side of the cliff, the birds are singing, the cotton is high, Daddy’s rich and Mama’s good lookin.’ And oh yeah, I am still alive. I bend my knees and take a small jump, descending quickly. I put on the breaks and once again land on the side of the cliff. Then I take a giant springing leap (at least for a white boy it was a giant springing leap). As I glide further down with each leap, I can’t help but feel completely free and alive.

Lean back and live. Leaning back is never easy. Leaning forward is easy, but leaning back is risky. But just as with most things in life, the reward comes in the risk. That’s what faith is all about. It works not just in rappelling but also in life. Faith is the evidence of things not seen. Faith is jumping when you don’t know exactly how or where you’re feet will land. Faith is trusting in our Father who tied the ropes and has promised to never let go…and it’s our Father’s grace that makes the journey come alive. When I get to the end of my life (and who knows for sure when that will be?), I don’t want to wonder, “Was I really willing to take a risk and trust God, or was I content to simply stay comfortable, where nothing is exciting and nothing makes my heart pound?” So come on, let’s lean back…and live!

Andy Knight

About the Author

Andy is the user interface designer for YouVersion, the Bible App. He has a passion for sharing God's story of grace and freedom through the internet. Andy lives in Roswell, GA, with his wife and three sons. You can follow him on Twitter at @andyknight.