the cliffs of insanity




do you ever feel like God asks too much of you? 

I was sitting at lunch on Sunday with a few friends and one guy mentioned this statement: “it just feels like God is asking for too much… holiness, sexual purity, hope despite circumstances, etc… its just too much.” 

My first thought was to remind him that if he compared his circumstances with all God has offered him through salvation, that he wouldn’t say such a thing.  But before I said a word, thankfully the Holy Spirit convicted me of often thinking and saying the exact same thing in my own life.  “God, ___ is too much.  Please stop.  Please take this away.  Enough already. Can’t we be done with this trial / lesson / etc?”

As I was thinking about this last night, my thoughts turned to the Princess Bride.  In this movie, is a section where Fezzik carries the princess and two others on his back as he climbs a rope up the cliffs of insanity.  They are dizzying and from a normal human’s perspective its “inconceivable” to think that someone could climb those cliffs.  Its an obstacle that can’t be overcome. 

I think of many situations in my life this way.  For this post, the obstacle of choice is finances.  I often find myself overwhelmed by the struggle, frustrated by my lack of self control in certain areas, and discouraged that I’m still fighting this battle and disheartened by additional unpaid days off work.  In my mind if I could just pull myself up by my bootstraps, then all would be fine.  I’d have millions in the bank, no struggles and happiness galore.  But thinking that is about as foolish as expecting the princess to climb the cliffs by herself.  Without the power of Fezzik, the giant, there is no way she would make it to the top of the cliff.  And the same is true in my life… without the power of the Holy Spirit to lead me and carry me, there is no hope for change in my life.  The cliffs really are insurmountable. 

Thankfully, the Bible has something to say about the cliffs in our lives and the power of God.

Mark 9:22-24 [the father of the child said] “But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” And Jesus said to him, “‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.” Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!”

Romans 8:26 … the Spirit helps us in our weakness.

Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.

Matthew 6:32 But if God so clothes the grass of the field which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 

Nehemiah 9:19-20 You gave your good Spirit to instruct them and did not withhold your manna from their mouth and gave them water for their thirst.  Forty years you sustained them in the wilderness, and they lacked nothing. 

Psalm 9:10 for you, o LORD, have not forsaken those who seek you.

1 Thessalonians 5:24 He who calls you is faithful, He will surely do it.

John 16:13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth…

Titus 3:5 he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit,

Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

I’m grateful that the power to make changes in my life is not up to me.  if it were, there would be no hope.   I can look back and see so many other insurmountable cliffs that now seem miniscule.  And because of God’s faithfulness, I know we’ll get over the current ones too.


5 responses »

  1. Great thoughts Emily. After reading this I thought of Paul’s pleading with God about his thorn in 2 Corinthians 12:8-9:

    “Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

    I struggle many times with the things you’ve mentioned here and get frustrated with how slow change seems to happen in my life. Someone once commented to me that sanctification sometimes is more like a slow cooker than a microwave :)

    Thanks for sharing this with us today. God bless !

  2. Joe, sometimes i think its a pressure cooker too! :)

    my pastor often compares the Christian life to a walk. he encourages us to remember that walking takes time, progress often seems slow, but it is a continual forward motion. Often i think that my progress should be more spectacular but as I look back, i can see all that God has done. i wonder if he uses such a non-spectacular way so that we are less tempted to take the glory for ourselves.

  3. Pingback: 16 Reasons Why Christians Must Submit to the Authority of the Bible | Fallen and Flawed

  4. Beautiful post, Emily. I do think when we are overwhelmed by our circumstances we’ve take our eyes off of God. In fact, we’ve gone so far as to disabuse ourselves or certain attributes of God–like all knowing and all powerful. Even that he is sovereign, and that he governs are affairs. This is why its so critical to understand who we worship. This is why doctrine is not a bad thing. It’s a good thing. And it eventually leads to doxology–praise and thanks…which then motivates us to deeds. It sounds like you understand this. I appreciate hearing your thoughts that always find their way back to a massive God. Very authentic.

  5. Pingback: 16 Reasons Why Christians Must Submit to the Authority of the Bible

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