I had the joy of going on a vacation in the Hocking Hills of Ohio. What beautiful scenery! The hiking was good and not too strenuous. I stayed in a cabin and it was clean and comfortable. There were many deer in the area and I was greeted me in the front yard by one. Can you picture all of this? It is the scene of a nice quiet, peaceful, relaxing vacation. But I guess I wanted more so I called and reserved a place on the Hocking Hills Canopy Tour. So, at 69 years old I was outfitted with helmet, harness, and cable for zip lining. We traveled at least 8 zip lines in the tree tops. The longest one was over 500 feet and the rider went 35 miles an hour. I was the rider and I was traveling that fast. Zip lines weren’t the only things to get us from one tree to another. There were also cable bridges which would swing back and forth. Yikes, what was I thinking?
While on this tour, I was always thinking about placing my hands in the right position. There were thoughts of the beauty of woods from the treetops as well. The tour guides told us to look around while traveling on the zip line but I kept my eyes ahead to see the landing place. Landing was important to me. I didn’t really look until I felt safe on the platform. The tour guide made sure to catch me if I was going too fast to land. It brought me joy to see his smiling face at the end of the line each and every time. Would I do this again? Probably. Why? I don’t know.
Life, for the follower of Christ, is like traveling the zip line. There are many things to see along the way but the finish line is the important focus. In fact, we read in the Scriptures about where our focus should be.
“Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” Colossians 3:2
“…let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith…” Hebrews 12:1b-2a
Our lives are to be lived now with eternity in view. We need to keep our eyes on the finish line. Jesus has already zipped through this life on our behalf. I think of my tour guide who zipped before us. He made sure to be ready to catch us as we came to the end of the line. He got there first, which showed that it was possible and safe. That’s what Jesus has done. He has gone before us in this life and lived it perfectly because we aren’t able to. He is now interceding on our behalf to the Father. We can keep our eyes on him and trust him because he knows the line we will be zipping on in this life. Our eyes, at all times, need to be on our guide and the eternity waiting for us.
I’m also reminded of the tour guide who stayed behind to help us step off the platform. He made sure we were securely fastened and then waited for the one who had gone before to let him know it was safe for us. Our brothers and sisters in Christ are represented by him. We are to encourage one another by making sure we have what we need to live life reflecting God. Is there someone who needs to be harnessed to the Word of God? We can help her to see her need by pointing her to the Word. Our lovingkindness in helping others take hard steps in life will go a long way. Life is hard and we need others to help us who have their eyes on Jesus.
Those swinging bridges were harder for me to cross than the zip line. I didn’t like the swinging and I was tempted to keep looking down as I crossed. It was actually better for me when I put my eyes up and looked at the destination. Satan loves when we keep our eyes on the circumstances in our lives. As we focus on the situation, we can lose sight of the finish line. We need to look up and see Jesus, who has suffered for us. He’s at the finish line waiting for us. The temptation to look to the right, left, or down is one we have to fight as we seek to keep our eyes looking up to our Savior, Jesus Christ.
Was zip lining on my bucket list? Not really, because I don’t have a bucket list. I do have a finish line and only God knows when I’ll cross it. What I do know for sure is, that when I cross that finish line, my Savior will catch me and usher me into eternity with him. Let’s encourage one another to keep our eyes on him as we live the life he has given us!