Safety First

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Safety First in Rock ClimbingThree years ago, our Bethel Church Women’s Rock Climbing Small Group started with just 10  women. Our little group met each week for easy top ropes and lots of laughs. Last year, our numbers began to grow. I remember panicking the week we had 18 women attend. Jessica looked at me with concern and said, “You are in over your head.” Last week, we had close to 30, and seem to be growing every week. I love knowing that God is in this ministry, and that He has a plan and a purpose for each person who crosses our path.

The growth is exciting. At the same time, I look around the crag and recognize that with growth comes an increased possibility of something going wrong. I know that we teach AMGA standards for belaying and stress the importance of safety. However, I question if everyone really understands how dangerous climbing can be if the safety protocols are not followed. This is a time of fun and fellowship. However, bad things can happen if the ramifications of carelessness are not fully understood.

Climbing accidents happen when safety becomes an afterthought. With so many amazing women gathered in one place, I must ask myself, “is safety in the forefront of everyone’s mind? Have I sufficiently stressed the importance of safety? Does everyone truly understand what is at stake every time they climb or belay someone?”

As I have pondered this question, I started thinking about faith. We all operate in faith daily. Faith that when the light turns red, the other car is going to stop. Faith that when we order food off the menu that it comes to us unspoiled. Faith that when we start to climb, our belayer is well trained and paying attention.

The dictionary defines faith as, “complete trust or confidence in someone or something.” Every time you step onto the rock, you demonstrate faith in your belayer, your gear and the rope. You have faith that if you were to fall, the belayer would catch you. If you did not trust your belayer, climbing would be a little terrifying to say the least.

It seems like faith is easy with tangible topics, such as reliance on traffic laws, restaurant service, and even placing our lives in the hands of a belayer. However, faith is more difficult when it comes to God. Faith in the unseen requires surrender and trust in a seemingly unproven entity. However, over time, Jesus always proves Himself faithful. He keeps His promises, never gets distracted from the task at hand and is always there to catch you when you fall. Faith becomes easier as His faithfulness is demonstrated time and time again.  I am thankful that He is always right, always true, and always trustworthy. Even if my world crashes around me, I know that God will always catch me, always bring me to safety, and always have my best in mind.

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.  – Hebrews 11:1

Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls. – 1 Peter 1:8-9

Faith in Jesus Christ produces hope for tomorrow. There is hope for a better life in eternity with our Creator. However, there is also hope for today. Hope that God walks beside me in the down times and celebrates with me in the victories. Hope in His provision, and a light in the darkest of circumstances. Hope that provides peace and joy, where there is none to be found. For me, faith is the rope that catches me when I fall.

but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. – Isiah 40:31

I have faith that God is in this Ministry and watches over everyone of us. In the past three years, there has never been a serious injury. However, that does not mean we should be careless. He expects us to do our part, take the proper precautions and follow the proper protocols.

While it is important to have fun and build relationships, I want to stress the importance of recognizing the risks.

Climbing can be incredibly fun and rewarding. For me, every time I climb feels like a precious gift. I am so thankful for this sport and all it has taught me. However, these danger and safety procedures should be taken seriously to reduce the risk and potential for mishaps. Be careful, be wise, work hard and see what God will do next in our life.

Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. – Ephesians 5:15-17

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