See You At The Top!

This morning, reflecting on missions to Cuba, my aging body, and the irrevocable promises of God, my visit to La Gran Piedra (The Great Rock) near Santiago de Cuba came to mind.

Image credit: panoramio.com (now discontinued website)

I was recovering from five-bypass open-heart surgery when the opportunity to visit this majestic park opened to us.

How high could I climb? Was this a wise undertaking for me? Would the steep climb kill me?

A Cuban friend advised me the zunzuncito, the Bee Hummingbird, can sometimes be seen in the park. The Helena hummingbird is found only in Cuba and is the smallest bird in the world.

I saw none of the tiny birds, but I saw something by far more desirable: the Grace of God.

The young members of our party raced on ahead as I plodded my way up the path toward the summit of La Gran Piedra.

Upon reaching the first platform where a woman vendor offered mementos, I paused to rest, to slow my heart rate a bit, as I was mentally preparing to descend back to the base of the rock.

To go further upward seemed to be impossible. But, I wanted to make it all the way to the top. The description of the view from the top naturally was the draw.

My desire to go upward exceeded my fear of the possible consequences of doing so. I trudged onward and upward.

Something miraculous happened. Within a few steps, my breathing became normal, my heart rate slowed; I felt fine, as though I had never had the heart attack.

At that platform where I was at a point of electing to quit the climb, I began to repeatedly rehearse Philippians 4:13, “For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.”

How was I able to continue the climb without my wife making funeral arrangements for my carcass? God renewed my physical and spiritual strengths.

Philippians 2:13 was the key. “For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.” Is this not the definition of grace? God gave me both the desire and the ability, the power, to finish the climb.

By the way, the view from the top is breathtaking. Zig Ziglar would have been proud to see me at the top.

My wife and I serve weekly with CareCenterMinistries in Pleasant Grove, the poorest neighborhood in Dallas. Each week, we encounter the least, the last, and the lonely, people who have given up making it to the top of anything.

But, we also engage a few who choose to press onward and upward and they succeed.

It’s truly amazing what happens when we get permission to do what God has already equipped us to do!

Perhaps you read this far because of a steep challenge before you. To be sure, if it’s something God wants for you, you absolutely can do it.

Yes, you can! ¡Sí se puede!

Soli Deo Gloria

John White
Rockwall, Texas

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