The Sliding Board

            Before our shelter-in-place because of the coronavirus pandemic, I worked in a children’s ministry with 2 to 4-year-olds. New playground equipment had recently been purchased which included two sliding boards, one small and one large. One morning, with extra volunteers on hand, I took my 2 to 4-year-olds out to play. They had a ball.

            Susie was almost 3 at that time. Although she spoke little, she truly enjoyed life and was usually smiling. When we went to the playground, Susie ran to the small slide, trying to climb. I went with her. As she started up, she was a little fearful, but didn’t want to be helped down. I helped her with a step and she smiled. When she needed help again, it went the same. When she got to the top of the slide, she smiled, but then wasn’t sure what to do. I told her to sit and helped her to do so. Then I went to the front of the slide and down came Susie, giggling and smiling all the way. What joy!

            So, what did she do next? Susie ran to the bigger slide and the process started all over again. Smiles and giggles abounded.

            I later thought about that slide in relation to life. Any success (times that bring smiles and giggles) comes after a climb. We can’t have the fun in sliding down the sliding board without the climb, neither can we have any success without a struggle. And like Susie, we really don’t want to stay at the top of the climb. We want the joy we get from our success. Soon we discover that there’s another sliding board out there, a bigger one. And when we climb that, we experience the same joy.

            Life is like that sliding board. It can be hard to make the climb to the top, so hard that we need help. Jesus is right there with us, and He will support us, but He will not make the climb for us. We have to do that. And when our climb is over, joy awaits.

            In this time of fighting the virus that is ravaging our country and the rest of the world, we find ourselves doing less. It’s as if we can’t get to that sliding board. But perhaps we need to just look for the work God has designed for us during this time. The sliding board may be hard to find and look different, but it is there, and the joy after the climb is always worth it all.

            I am starting a new climb as well, and when that is finished, I will move on to the next ladder, perhaps a higher one to climb. When I cannot seem to take that next step, I will look to God who is right there. He wants me to experience the joy that is waiting at the end of that climb and the joy of heaven that is waiting for me as well.

            He wants the same for you.

“I know that there is nothing better for them than to rejoice and to do good in one’s life …” Ecclesiastes 3:12

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