An annual highlight for Sue Ann and me is attending our district’s pastors and wives refresher. This retreat is held each fall at the district camp, Hidden Acres (near Dayton, IA). We are so grateful for this getaway, one of a number of opportunities our district regularly provides for pastoral encouragement, equipping, and fellowship. And we are grateful our church sends us to be refreshed.
This event at Hidden Acres offers a couple of unique perks: delicious camp food (no kidding—Hidden Acres serves up really good meals!) and outdoor beauty and recreation. Some of the usual recreational offerings are golf at a nearby course, horseback riding, hiking, a hayrack ride/tour of the grounds, and canoeing. I think Sue Ann and I have canoed the pond every year, usually with fishing gear in use!
This year the camp offered a new outdoor activity. As they were going through the list of what was available, they mentioned the zip line. And as soon as they said “zip line,” Sue Ann leaned over to me and said, “I’d like to try that.” Wow! Now that’s a spirit of adventure!
So, sure enough, that afternoon we found ourselves getting helmeted and harnessed up for the zip line. Here’s how it works. You climb about 30 feet straight up a pole—fortunately all the while belayed by a staffer on the ground. When you get to the top, you maneuver around from the climbing rungs to a small platform where another staffer snaps your harness on to the zip line and persuades you that you really can step off the platform into thin air. After all, four year-olds do it!
Once you take the plunge, you are propelled forward by gravity as you dangle by a rope from a slightly sagging cable overhead. The rope engages with the overhead cable by a wheeled or pulley device which runs along the cable. You zip along until you reach the lowest point on the sagging cable and then you begin to slow as the cable slopes upward toward the farther end. Eventually you stop and then begin to double back, much more slowly, until you reach the staffer waiting with a ladder to get you back to terra firma.
Jumping from the platform is exhilarating. As you overcome your fear and take the plunge the thrill often gets verbalized as a resounding, “Whoo hoo!”
Kind of like faith. Sometimes God has us on a platform and asks us to jump, all the while having us securely harnessed to His faithfulness and love. Taking the plunge requires facing down fear and deciding to step out. Why, even four year-olds can do it!