Lately, I’ve been taking my teenage sons, Landon and Jabel, to the climbing gym. I was introduced to rock climbing by two close friends, a young couple named Tim and Tanya, when I was a teenager. On my first day, I had to be essentially rescued by Tanya from the top of an 80-foot granite spire. It was an inauspicious start to what would become a lifelong passion.
What many cannot grasp, though, is that climbing isn’t actually very dangerous. So long as one is skilled in the techniques of rope management, anchor building, and risk management, rock climbing becomes almost pedestrian in terms of danger, as any experienced climber will attest. In fact, in many cities, being a pedestrian would be more hazardous than climbing with proper equipment and technique.
Is there danger? A little, but it can be minimized by responsible behavior and a basic awareness of one’s situation and surroundings.
This is why I’m teaching my sons and have been for years. I want them to know how to face not just a steep cliff but life’s dangers, trials, and temptations. Let’s be real: life can be pretty dangerous! For this reason, Violeta and I are not just raising our sons, we are discipling them.
But discipleship is all that and more. It involves modeling how to understand, evaluate, and even critique the prevailing culture.
Raising is important. It involves providing for, teaching, and protecting, among other things. But discipleship is all that and more. It involves modeling how to understand, evaluate, and even critique the prevailing culture. It involves purposeful teaching and mentoring about the attractive dangers of modernity. It involves teaching your children how to sit at the feet of Jesus and learn “as little children.” It requires a personal connection with Jesus, as parents. It’s the greatest challenge and joy a person can have: to help mold another into the selfless, loving image of Jesus Christ.
There’s rock climbing and there’s Rock climbing. The first is fun, freeing, and hugely satisfying. And so is the second. “Climbing” into the strong arms of the Rock—Jesus—to hide safely in the cleft of His grace may seem dangerous to some, but, in fact, it’s not. It is where true peace, safety, and comfort are found.
Moses of old hid in the cleft of the Rock.
And so can you and I and Landon and Jabel and… and… and…
“Your life is now hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:2).