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 sound must have been a maddening echo that haunted him at first, tormented by the rooster’s crow that mocked his empty proclamation of loyalty. For three days, his faith lay in the grave with the Savior’s body, darkened by the memory of his public desertion.
Slightly Obsessed #188: Freedom
He was shouting “Freedom” as he plowed his car at twenty-one miles an hour into the granite monument engraved with the Ten Commandments.
A video posted on the suspect’s Facebook page depicted the man in his car facing the monument as a women’s voice, presumably on a car radio, asked, “Where do you go when you’re faced with adversity and trials and challenges?”
Slightly Obsessed #187: He Reigns
Has a more beautiful declaration ever been written? Without that truth, we would have been forever lost to life. But because God had all authority firmly in His grasp, Satan had no chance of wresting the universe from Him. Because God reigns, Jesus could heal sickness, forgive sins, and conquer death. Because God is in control, evil was outwitted. Because He is Lord, there is power behind the words, “It is finished.”
Slightly Obsessed #186: When the Path Ahead Is Fearsome
The room was dark and shadowed, the only sound within its walls the rhythmic whoosh of the ventilator beside my son’s bed. I sat on an uncomfortable chair jammed into one corner of the room. In the faint light that fell from the window across the pages of the Bible I held, I tried to corral my stampeding fears long enough to find some comfort from God’s Word. Outside the door of his room, a cacophony of voices from the nurses’ station jarred our shattered nerves.
Slightly Obsessed #185: Clean
They were just turning down the lights in the sanctuary as I awkwardly slid into a seat near the back of the church. I was tired and soiled by the previous week. Life had been especially difficult, and I had not handled the pressure well. I felt completely unhinged spiritually and wholly unworthy to be in God’s presence. The worship team began with one of my favorite songs, and I hoped I didn’t look as vulnerable as I felt.
Slightly Obsessed #184: The Mark of Maturity
The infant finishes his bottle and smiles contentedly up at his mother. A trickle of milk courses down from the corner of his mouth. It’s a sweet scene because that’s what babies do. They are born with immature digestive systems and no teeth. Mother’s milk or formula are necessary for the child to survive and thrive. As they grow, their teeth begin to come in, their digestive abilities mature, and they can tolerate solid food.