“For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another” (Galatians 5:13).

In May I had the joy of visiting again a remote region of northern New Mexico. This area is a National Park built around an ancient volcano called Capulin. A roadway and parking area has been built near the summit of the old volcano (it is 8,182 feet in elevation at its highest point). Then a paved, wide path circles the top of the volcano (about a mile in length), and another paved path goes down to the ancient core.

In the past, I loved to walk the rim! It is lined with fragrant Juniper and Western Cedar trees, the air is crisp, and you can see forever around the 360 degree path. As you look, you hardly see any evidence of human activity, only the footprints of God. The views are incredible! Though I enjoy this place a lot, I did not think I would ever see it again.

To our blessing, Ron and Debbie Belote made this trip with us. The night before we went to the park, they decided I needed to walk the rim path with them. I had been walking a mile and a half in Fort Smith, so I figured I had the strength to do it. They made a human sandwich with Ron in front (so I would have someone to fall on if I fell), Debbie behind me (so she could try to catch me if I fell), me with my “trusty cane” in the middle,” and Joyce with the camera to verify I did it. (By the way, I did not even stumble.)

When I got back, “I” had done the impossible (and much enjoyed it), but only because three people encouraged and helped me do the impossible. Three Christians knew what the opportunity meant to me, and they made the “impossible” quite “possible.”

The thought occurred to me immediately, “That is the core of Christian existence!” There are many of life’s experiences that are “impossible” if faced alone, but which become infinitely “possible” when you are encouraged and aided by those who share and understand your faith and commitment.

The issue is never, “Am I weak and flawed?” We all are weak and flawed--never more so than when we pretend to be “strong” and without defects. The issue is, “Will I as a Christian help someone else with their weakness, and let them help me with my weakness?”

Two observations I regard to be important. (1) I must never expect the truly impossible of others. (2) It is as important for me to accept help as it is to give help. (In fact, our help becomes more powerful when we also accept our weakness.)

If you are Christian, you are not committed to do the impossible, but you are committed to do what you are able to do. One of the most powerful things we all have to give is encouragement. With encouragement, God’s help, and the help of those who place their confidence in Christ, it is amazing what a person can do. The combination of faith and encouragement is powerful in a human being! Each of us always can supply the encouragement!

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 5 June 2008

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