Slightly Obsessed #051 "The Ladder Called Life" (Weekly Devo) by Pamela Thorson on 2013-11-13 14:21:58
So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy .- Romans 9:16
He sits on a riding lawnmower as he trims the lush green lawn around his house. In this old commercial for a finance company, the owner sports an overdone grin as he recites his many achievements for the camera: a four-bedroom home; wife and kids; a great job; membership in the local country club; a pool.
In the next breath, plastic smile firmly in place, he confesses he can barely pay his finance charges. He begs, “Will somebody please help me?”
The pressure to perform begins early for most of us. The race for the first word, first teeth, and first steps is soon followed by pre-school, dance classes, swimming lessons, and sports. By the time we’ve finished high school, we’re supposed to be well on the way to a successful career.
The incomes have to be better, the homes bigger, the resumes fatter. Keep working. Keep ahead of the competition.
Keep scaling the ladder of success.
We squander the treasure of our youth clawing upward rung by rung, only to make a bitter discovery at the end of our lives: The ladder leads nowhere. In the final years we are left to face the oblivion of old age and death.
Thousands of years ago, a young man was on a similar journey. Sent by his parents back to his ancestral home to find a wife, Jacob traveled alone until dark. Knowing he would have to spend the night under the stars, he found a stone and used it as a makeshift pillow.
That night he had a strange dream. In this dream a ladder was set on the earth. Its top reached into heaven. Angels were using this ladder as a highway from heaven to earth. God stood at the top of the ladder and proclaimed a blessing to Jacob and his descendants. In awe Jacob called this place the house of God and the gate of heaven.
The dream lay in obscurity for thousands of years, until it was interpreted one day by a carpenter.
Jesus answered and said to him, “Because I said to you that I saw you under the fig tree, do you believe? You shall see greater things than these.” And He said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see the heavens opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.” – John 1:50-51
Because we all die, the ladder to success is a one-way trip to oblivion. The only ladder that matters is the one reaching eternity. Religion is the effort of man to span the gap between him and God that ends in the cry, “Will somebody please help me?”
Only in the person of the God-man Jesus Christ is the void bridged. His body, offered in sacrifice for our sins, became the holy stairway to heaven for which we long. With Him, we can leave the futility of this world behind. In Him we climb to new heights.
In Him, an old dream becomes new hope.
About Pamela Thorson:
Pamela Thorson is a licensed practical nurse, author, and full-time caregiver. She pioneered in the homeschooling movement from 1982-2006 and authored her first book, Song in the Night, in 2008. She resides in the Northwest with her family.
The pain takes us down and drives us to our knees. We long for relief, for a way out. But in the secret place of suffering, we discover that pain is our friend.
Slightly Obsessed #228: The God of the Grateful
My world had just fallen into a pit. We had a young daughter, four other children, and no insurance. I was so sick that I didn’t even know if I could get to the doctor for tests. Despair rolled over us in waves.
Then God spoke.
Slightly Obsessed #227: Release the Beautiful
As we smiled at the people we met on our walk I wondered at the social custom that requires face-to-face congeniality on a bike path among strangers who would soon be in our respective cars fighting over a lane change. It’s easier to be mad at people when we can’t see their faces.
Slightly Obsessed #226: Triune
In its most basic element, our very existence mirrors His Godhead in trinity. Each person enters time and space as three: body, soul, and spirit.
Slightly Obsessed #225: Why Lightning Doesn't Strike the Wicked
The popular radio host was on a rampage, vehemently damning God. He crowned the diatribe by flinging a challenge at God to strike him down at that very moment. He smugly interpreted heaven's silence as proof that there is no God. But what was really happening?
Slightly Obsessed #224: When the Pressure Feels Too Great
The fig I found in a local big box store had already been trimmed into a lovely miniature tree with an unusual trunk. Little did I understand what it takes to train a plant into a bonsai, and what that process would teach me about God.