One of my favorite things at church camp is the days that the campers do high ropes. High ropes consists of three different ropes courses: Jacob’s Ladder (my love), Catwalk, and the Pamper Pole. These ropes courses can be tough, but they can also be really easy, depending on who you are and how you view things.
Jacob’s Ladder is made of 4 long wooden blocks that you call the “ladder” that is about 50 feet in the air. To accomplish this ropes course, you need a partner to help you. The goal of this ropes course is to work together with your partner. It’s just you and your partner, that’s it. You need your partner, and your partner needs you. It is really dependent on other people, and that’s a great lesson to learn.
The Catwalk is a telephone pole standing straight up with stakes on it to climb up onto the telephone pole that is about 45 feet in the air. When you reach the top of the telephone pole, you will start to walk across the other telephone pole and reach the other side, and then make your way back to the middle to come back down to the ground.
The Pamper Pole is also a telephone pole standing straight up with stakes put into the pole that you climb until you reach the top of the telephone pole. You then have to stand on top of the telephone pole, balance yourself, and then jump for the hanging swinging bar that is waiting for you, maybe 7 feet out in front of you.
All of these ropes courses are possible. This is my favorite thing to watch campers do because you get to see a side of them that you probably normally would not see – and I love it. You see many campers who are afraid, who cry because they simply “cannot do it,” who get half way up the ladder/post and then back down from their mission, who smile while doing it, who laugh, and those who are just straight-forward with no facial expression whatsoever – concentration, focus, and determination.
All of those listed above are normal. It’s our emotions; it’s what we feel. It’s pain, joy, fear, and happiness all in one.
While you watch each camper slowly put on their harness (or you do it for them because they don’t know how), and then you watch them watch other campers do it, it’s impressive. You watch them watch someone else, and they will either get psyched out or become filled with joy and excitement, or maybe both.
It’s amazing to watch campers be afraid of something, and it’s amazing to watch campers be overly excited to do something, also. While you watch those campers who are afraid try to do one of these ropes courses, every single one of them freezes, and say, “I can’t do it.”
I absolutely hate the word “can’t,” “cannot.” It’s a lie. It’s hurtful. It’s plain and simple fear. But were does this fear come from?
While the campers go up there and freeze, we give them a second, and then we ask them, “Where does fear come from?” They usually don’t answer, so we tell them the answer. Fear is not caused by your circumstance. Fear is caused by the devil. Fear is from Satan. Satan is the one who is in charge of your fear. Satan will always take God’s gift and corrupt it. That’s his job, and it makes him happy while doing so.
2 Timothy 1:7 says: “for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.“
Ephesians 6:12 says “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”
The whole point of the ropes courses is for them to trust in God, conquer their fear, and to work together. In order to accomplish our mission when we are fearful, we need to trust in God. In order to accomplish our mission when the mission is hard and when we are fearful, we need to overcome that fear and conquer it.
There are many people in the Bible who were in hard, tough, and rough times, but they continued to put all of their trust in God. This is the main lesson to the campers when they are doing the ropes courses – trust in God, always. He has got your back, child, and I can promise you that.