Letting Go of Ladders

“I feel like I have to get somewhere,” I thought to myself, not for the first time. I have felt this for much of my life. And isn’t this what the world teaches, and isn’t this so intertwined with the “American dream”? We must climb our social ladders. We must climb our corporate ladders. We must climb ladders, ladders, and more ladders. Always higher. Achieve. Accomplish. Succeed. Success? Yes. How many ladders can we climb? How fast? How far? A life of climbing ladders. And, even following Christ, I confess, I still struggle with searching for ladders. Ladders I must climb. Ladders sometimes it feels like I can’t live without. I am so accustomed to ladders. 

Photo courtesy of Dodger Harrison via www.morguefile.com

I can get easily discouraged, disgruntled, frustrated, disappointed, and impatient in this mode of mine – this mode of the world’s, I should say. And sometimes I put out a plea to the Lord to help me find, and climb, these ladders. God, what ladder do I need to climb right now? What ladder comes next? I feel like I need to go somewhere, God. Somewhere next. Somewhere now. Where is the ladder, God? Where do I go? He is used to me, of course. He knows me well. He knows how to handle me. He knows what to say. He is not the worldly god of ladders. He is God.

He did not create me to climb ladders. He created me to love, worship and serve Him – and to love my neighbor. A ladder-less life, isn’t it? His way of life. Of believing in Christ, of trusting, of denying myself, of taking up my cross, and of following Him. Of hearing His Word, and of doing it. And so it is, I must deny this ladder way of life.

My flesh yearns for ladders to climb to please the world (so much less often, however), to satisfy my flesh by feeling I have accomplished what I have set out to do (the struggle of humanness, eh?), and even to please God (when did He give me ladders to climb?). But God offers me no ladders. He offers me Himself. So I shouldn’t be surprised at how He responded to my latest episode of struggling with ladders.

“I feel like I have to get somewhere,” I thought. 

Somewhere. A place. People. Someone to help. Desperate. Something to do. For Him. So I thought. I must find a ladder. To get some place. I even prayed about it. Where should I go? I prayed for wisdom. How can I please you, Lord? Where should I go that I might please you? You know how much I love you! I expected a fancy ladder kind of answer.
His was not. Not fancy. Not a ladder. His answer. The kind of answer only God would give.

“Isn’t it enough to be in me?”

My imaginary ladders, the ones I sought, fell away. And then my eyes were opened. And my heart once again saw. And realized. Once more. The world’s way of climbing ladders is not His at all. The world’s ladders will never be enough because they have no end in sight. Just more ladders. Never getting to where they may be intended to go. No destination. Unless you count darkness and hell. And more ladders.

Then there is the life without ladders. Then, yes, there is Him.

“Of course you are enough, God,” my heart replies.

And, He reminds me, so am I. I am enough even without all the ladders. I am enough because I am in Christ. Loved. Forgiven. In love. With Him.

Yes, Lord, it is enough. It is enough to be in you.

I finally found my somewhere, the somewhere I sought.

In Him.

38Now as they were traveling along, He entered a village; and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. 39She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord’s feet, listening to His word. 40But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me.” 41But the Lord answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; 42but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:38-42 NASB

“And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.” ” Luke 9:23 NASB

“If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also. “And you know the way where I am going.” Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” John 14:3-6 NASB

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