Today, I continue my blog series called Photography Friday’s by sharing with you the picture of this old ladder from my wife’s swing set she had as a child. Recently, I found the ladder still standing in her backyard and decided it made for an interesting photograph. After all, it’s not often you see a ladder standing up by itself. Having took the picture I asked my wife about it and she said, “It has just never been removed from our backyard.” I’m glad it’s still there because it made for a great picture, but it also allowed me to ponder the life lessons it still has left to teach.
Many reflections could be made about this ladder, but the two jumped out at me. The first is that nothing is impossible. Think about it, when was the last time you saw a freestanding ladder? I’ve never seen a ladder stand by itself. Chances are you haven’t, but this ladder is freestanding. It’s appears to be doing the impossible. I emphasize the word appears because the ladder is really supported by what is unseen, which is some concrete embedded around its legs in the ground. As a result, the cement provides the appearance that the ladder is independent of anything for support. However, it’s not totally freestanding because it does have some unseen help. As we live our lives we are really never really self-sufficient. Despite how much I love my own independence this is the second lesson from the ladder.
Often we live our lives thinking we are in control of our lives. We make decisions each day about what to do, what to eat, where to go, etc. These decisions give us the appearance that we are independent. In reality we are not freestanding individuals because each of us are supported by God’s unseen works. Even when we choose to pursue our own paths God is really there to direct our paths. So while we appear self-sufficient, we are really not totally independent.
Similarly, this ladder appeared to be freestanding, but it reminded me of Christ’s words in Matthew 19:26, which say, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” That’s just it; with God all things are possible even what appears to be impossible. For example, a freestanding ladder seems like a rare thing, but when you surround its legs with enough support what seemed impossible becomes possible. To the casual observer it appears impossible, but its really not when we know what the trick. Like our lives the trick is that it does have support and it’s not self-sufficient. Now some people may say, “I have accomplished what I have done on my own.” Others may acknowledge God in their successes. Either way, His unseen works support and encourage everyone at all times, including when we fail. This is one way God makes the impossible, possible.
Lastly, the idea that God’s in control is scary for many people. But, I believe it’s the most encouraging fact I’ve ever learned. I know when I make mistakes, that God through Jesus Christ can redeem any error I make since He’s in complete control. Ironically, by admitting that I’m not self-sufficient I’ve been set me free to reach for things in my life that seemed impossible. Then by His grace He made them possible. This is because when God has called me towards something He has provided the resources to complete His desired outcome. In contrast, when I have failed by pursing things outside of His will for my life, He has still redeemed them in ways I could never imagine. This seems illogical, but if we really believe “with God all things are possible” than it starts by admitting God is in control and we are not. Then we will find true freedom and even courage to do what we don’t think we can.
So just as the structure in the photograph appears self-sufficient, I know the ladder of success in life starts by admitting that I really have support even when it appears I’m doing it on my own.