Two legs to stand on
The North Cascade mountain range in the state of Washington is a among some of the most picturesque and breath taking scenery of any place you’ll ever find. Yet the white hot pain that had been penetrating my knees and causing most of my legs to be numb had all but blocked out the gorgeous scenery that was all around me.
I knew that I was in trouble by the time we were rounding the second switch back on our descent from Granite Lakes (Granite Lakes, just the mention of the name shoots pain through my knees). But now my legs were becoming so weak and my breath so short that I was certain I wasn’t going to make it to the bottom of the mountain.
At this point, my eldest son had bounced off down the road ahead of me while my youngest son had decided he needed a break and was presently strapped over my shoulders taking a nap.
Each agonizing step downward seemed to be in slow motion and with each step came more pain, then popping in the knees began.
The words, “crippled for life” began to flash before my eyes in large red letters, as pieces of my knee caps were breaking off and falling into my feet. I was a desperate man.
Actually, this whole experience started out quite harmlessly with the promise of great fishing and good fellowship, at a place called Granite Lakes.
I know that fish stories can sometimes get carried away, the more they are repeated the bigger the fish seem to get.
But this was different. This was more than just fishing. This was going to be two days of great fellowship with two other men in the church and our sons. How could I pass this up.
“Pastor,” my eager brother exclaimed for the forth time (for his own protection I won’t tell you his name, but it rhymes with Hi-De-Ho), “All you have to do is get in my pickup and I’ll drive you right to the campsite, you won’t have to carry your backpack more than 50 feet.”
Well by that time I could hear the trout sizzling in the pan and taste that clean mountain air as we sat around the fire swapping stories..
I began to be suspicious of our outcome as we were loading up the little pickup, you know, one of those with an American name and a Japanese heart. Then my suspicions turned into fear as we headed up the mountain road and the little Japanese heart began to quit.
“It’s only a little ways to the top,” my effervescent Bro, kept encouraging me, as we unloaded the pickup onto our backs.
Well, that was yesterday; now I’m ready to die and just looking for a place to fall, so with my son finally off my back, I’ve got my eye on a spot of grass in the sunshine about 50 yards ahead.
Step – shuffle – step – shuffle- – if I make it, it’ll be a miracle.
As I lay in that sunny spot that afternoon, trying to rub life back into my wounded legs, I promised the Lord two things if He would get me home without permanent damage.
First of all I promised I would never take such a big backpack on another camping trip.
Secondly I promised God and myself that I would never let ole Hi-De-Ho forget the pain that he had put his precious pastor through. You might be glad to know that I have only broken one of the promises that I made that day.
This is exactly the sense that I get when I read that statement by Asaph the Psalmist in 73:2.
The Psalmist and musician, Asaph who along with Daniel wrote so many beautiful songs to the Lord that we call our Psalms, was considering the life and welfare of the wicked and their apparent lack of pain and problems.
What was the result of this observation?
His legs grew weak; his knees began to hurt; his feet almost stumbled and slipped.
Sound familiar? Reminds me of a few storms that I have been through when I got my eyes off of Jesus and His covenant promise, fastening my gaze instead, as Asaph did, on the temporary success of the wicked around me.
How often, during times of councel and teaching a principle of God’s kingdom, I have had some foolish uninformed Christian throw back at me that the reason they were not tithing or attending church regularly was because there were many of their friends who never did any of those things and look how happy and prosperous they were.
When I hear that old worn out line the devil feeds people, my heart sinks with disappointment, because I know the one I am talking to doesn’t know the end of the story.
Paul told us that the end of the story for sin and disobedience, in other words the wages of that lifestyle, is always death (Rom. 6:23).
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Jesus declared to His followers as He was preparing to leave them, that anyone who would not believe and obey the gospel, a judgement or sentence would be placed against them, eventually bringing them to destruction. (Mk. 16:16)
So what was Asaph’s answer to his weak and trembling legs and feet; how did he pull out of the emotional and spiritual dive that he was preparing to have?
Asaph readjusted his gaze from the world and refocused back on the word of God’s promises to him. He did this by going back to the sanctuary (Ps. 73:17), the place of God’s presence, the place where h,e could be reminded of God’s covenant and promises again. A place to bring remembrance of God’s faithfulness.
The Psalmist came to himself just as the prodigal did, when he remembered Father’s house and heart, and Asaph remembered the final end to the wickedness and sin.
You see there are two legs that each of us use as we walk along on this highway God has called us to. Both of them must be strong and steady to carry us along into God’s will.
One of those legs is called principles. Principles that God has established that will never be altered by time or pressure from a wicked society. Like the law of gravity, these principles work generation after generation to those who obey them.
The second leg that we stand on is called faith. Not just faith for things or faith for miracles, but rather faith in a covenant God who will never fail His promises.
Principles and covenant, as solid as the God who gave them to us to stand on.
Principles as steady as the laws that govern the movement of the universe around us. As dependable as the sun rising in the east.
God is a covenant God Who has laid for us a foundation of covenant that we can stand on and know without doubt that He will never change or break one of His promises that He has given us through covenant.
Think of it; two legs to stand on, that will never grow weary or weak as long as we keep our eyes in the right direction (Pro. 4:21).
Well, as you have imagined, I did survive “the walk from hell” and did manage to recover from my wounded knees and bruised pride. and except for the slight reaction when I hear the words, “Granite Lakes”, I am totally recovered.
Now, if I could just forgive “ole Hi-De-Ho” I’d be perfect.
Up and Down Specialist