The Hill

When I was around nine years-old we moved to a house on the edge of some woods near Seattle, Washington. Our property was right next to these woods and leading up to the trees from our dead end street was a hill. It was not particularly long, nor was it particularly high, but it rose so sharply from the street that it was very steep.


It was a challenge for a young boy that could not be ignored!


I got a green, Stingray bike for Christmas one year when we lived near those woods. It had chopper-style handle bars, a banana seat and a "wheelie bar" on the back. It was the best bike ever!


I can remember riding that bike as fast as I could to get as close to the top of that hill as I could. When I ran out of steam, I would fling myself and the bike down and then drag the bike the rest of the way up to the top. Then I would sit on my bike at the top and work up the nerve to look down at the bottom of that hill. It seemed like a sheer drop off from the top of a cliff, but I would muster my courage and push off with my feet and, for a few brief moments, it felt like I was flying.


To this day I cannot explain why, but whenever there was a hill or a tree or a big rock, It was like a taunting challenge, and I felt that I had to do something about such an affront to my budding manhood, or I would have to forever live with the shame of backing down. The rocks had to be scaled, the trees had to be climbed and the hills had to be ridden down by bike or sled.


I don't think it was from an urge to show off, for these challenges were nearly always made when I was by myself. For some reason unknown to me, I literally felt compelled to do them. I'm sure a psychologist would have a field day psychoanalyzing this compulsive disorder, but for me I suppose  that there was just such a thrill from the experience and a feeling of accomplishment when the challenge was met that the effort simply had to be made.


I guess it was one of those delights of being young that we all look back on with such fondness. It is this very "delight" that draws those who will follow to God and Jesus:


Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will act. 

Psalms 37:4-5, ESV


When I was a boy, I didn't think much about the consequences had I failed in some of the stunts I took part in - I was just caught up in the exhilaration of the moment. And, though I do feel we could all use a little more caution from time to time and use some of the common sense that the Lord has given us, I  do think that there are too many people who are afraid to take any risk at all. Maybe this is the reason so many decide not to give their lives over to Christ - they have counted the costs and have just decided they are too much. So they live their sad little lives, safe from any big effort or big risk from taking such noble challenges, but in the end they are absolutely devoid of the joys that come from trusting God and delighting themselves in His love.


Perhaps it simply boils down to this: Service to God does require big effort, for it is a big challenge. Far too many people view these things as insurmountable hills that are just too high to try to climb, so they don't and they never reach the top. But for those who will take up this challenge and expend the great effort to get to the top of this hill, there is delight! We just need to trust in God and start the climb.