Life isn’t easy.

That’s not news to you, of course. You and I have faced many struggles. But our perspective on those struggles can make a great difference.

Today’s verse tells us:

All of my sons love bouldering, which is a specialized form of rock climbing. Some would call it “pure rock climbing.” Unlike “regular” rock climbing, which uses ropes and harnesses, bouldering is rock climbing stripped of everything but its barest essentials – rocks, hands, feet and pure determination. Sure, most people wear climbing shoes to help secure their footholds and chalk to keep their hands dry, but they are not a necessary element. Most climbers also have a mat laid on the ground beneath them as they climb to cushion them in the inevitable fall, for no one successfully completes every climb they attempt.

In bouldering, the climbers try to follow routes intended for success. Every climb, or problem, has its own solution, but the solution is impacted by your personal strength and even physical characteristics. There are different levels of challenge. The scale is preceded by the letter “V” and runs from VB (which stands for “basic” or “beginner”) and currently runs through the numbers up to V17. I say “currently” because, although the hardest bouldering problems in the world are currently rated V16 and V17, there’s a scant few people who can climb that hard and manage to complete them. But theoretically, the scale will increase as the skills of the climbers do.

In bouldering and in life, we face problems of various levels of difficulty. While traveling upon a freeway might provide a smooth, hard surface that allows our vehicle to move along at a higher speed, real life isn’t truly like that. There are far too many bumps, potholes and even boulders in the roads we walk every day. The real “road” we walk isn’t a superhighway. Often, we find ourselves facing mountains, you and I.

When He doesn’t move the mountains we want Him to move, perhaps it’s because He wants us to trust Him, and to climb them.

And the boulders are what we climb upon.


The bumps and boulders of life are actually the hand holds and foot holds that we can use to lift and push ourselves to new heights.

God is no fool. He’s not going to take a new believer and toss them into a V10 climb. He’s a wiser and more gracious God than that! But He does intend for us to be developed and strengthened, so that we can face challenges with more complexity and difficulty, and ones that require more strength and skill. And, as we grow and climb, He is both the strength in our limbs and the mat below us.

Isn’t this what we as parents do? What our parents intended for us? We recognize that the challenges our children will need to overcome as they grow will require skills that are greater than their current capacity. So we encourage them as they begin with “problems” that are elementary, but necessary. They are merely a starting place, something intended to develop and strengthen a particular skill set.

I remember struggling with my multiplication tables in third and fourth grade, and feeling like I’d never master them. But I was forced to keep at it. Not because either my teacher or my parents were cruel, but because both knew it was a necessary skill to face the upcoming challenges of more advanced mathematics, algebra, geometry, trigonometry and calculus. Each step along the way is significant, and develops skills that enable future performance.

When I took the placement exams for the high school I attended, I scored quite high. As such, I was enrolled in a full-on honors program. The problem was that there was no honors algebra for freshmen in this high school. Those who were placed in the honors program skipped algebra and were placed into the geometry course normally filled with second-year students. The problem was that, as a result, I never had the chance to learn the foundational algebraic skills that made geometry understandable, let alone mastering any of them. As such, from that point in my life to this I’ve been impacted in my mathematical performance.

It is necessary that we work our way through life’s problems. The process develops skills we need for the future. And when we fall — and we shall fall – we get back up and press on; because God heals and empowers us to do so.

Our scars are a sign of His grace in our lives. And the struggle is part of the story. The boulders are the things we climb upon.

When He doesn’t move the mountains we want Him to move, it is time to climb them.


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