Today’s readings are from 2 Corinthians 1:22, 2 Corinthians 5:5, and Hebrews 7:22 as we focus on the word guide to describe God.
A good friend of mine, fellow believer, and fellow Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Advisor, Josh Waite, shared something very interesting with me a few years back which I now share with my clients. I’m not a mountain climber, but Josh is. In recent years, he climbed the highest peak in the continental U.S., Mt. Rainier in the state of Washington, with his siblings in memory of his late father. He shared with me that most people who die climbing some of the world’s highest peaks do so on the way down…not on the way up as many would be lead to believe. They think when they have made it when the reach the top, and they get complacent on the way down. However, the 2 things that help climbers complete a successful journey up and down the mountain are having a map and a guide. This is a good way to describe how we help our clients in retirement planning, and it is in times like we are experiencing today in the financial world that having a map (a financial plan) and a guide in us to help coach them through the challenges becomes most critical. Josh has actually written 2 books on this topic called Up and Down the Mountain for both corporate executives and medical and dental professionals.
The map for climbers shows the best route to take to get down the mountain and fully complete their journey. Fortunately for us, our God has also given us a map in his Word, the Holy Bible. A regular map shows you the route to take, but does not tell you anywhere on it that you will face unexpected and unknown challenges making the journey longer and much tougher. However, thankfully the map God has given us in His Word tells us there will be pitfalls and challenges like those many of us are facing right now with Covid 19 and its trickle down effects. Pastor Mike Baker once said that God doesn’t tell us exactly what specific challenges are ahead for us because we would probably freak out, and we would probably mess things up thinking we can do it better than His perfect plan. Again, He does tell us though we will in fact face challenges (yes..even Christ-followers) and that those challenges mold and shape us into who He wants us to be prior to the great joy that lies ahead in verses like James 1:2-4, James 1:12, 1 Peter 1:6-7, and John 16:33.
Thankfully, not only did God gives us a map in His Word, but he also gave us his Holy Spirit in Acts 2 as our guide which is our word for today. In 2 Corinthians 1:22, it tells us the Holy Spirit is on our hearts. He is always tugging on your heart and telling you where to go..to Jesus. Even though we don’t always go where the guide, the Holy Spirit, is telling us, just like we don’t always go the way the voice on Google Maps or Waze tells us, we end up realizing the voice of the Holy Spirit speaking to our hearts and telling us the way to go would have been much better..just like we usually realize when we don’t follow the Google Maps or Waze voice. Sometimes the voice on our GPS can be wrong though…but 1 Corinthians 5:5 tells us the voice of the Holy Spirit as our guide, which we can hear in our hearts leading us to Jesus, is guaranteed to be the best route.
As I mentioned earlier, my friend Josh taught me most people die on the way down the mountain because they get complacent thinking they have made it after reaching the top. We are much the same in our lives. We think we have made it and are victorious when we have really just hit some base camps along the way, and we think we can make it without Him. But, since birth we are all really headed down the mountain in descent because each day we are closer to our last day on this Earth, not knowing when it will be. Every single one of us will miss the shiny snow over there which is really ice, like sin, causing us to fall off the cliff to our death as we are told in Romans 3:23 and Romans 6:23…we just don’t know when.
However, when we follow His Word as our map, and we listen to His Holy Spirit as our guide on our hearts, we will fall less and take fewer wrong steps. But, when we do take missteps, because we will…every day….we have Jesus as a guarantee to catch us in His loving and forgiving arms and safely deliver us to the bottom of the mountain where we have eternal victory as our verses today tell us. 2 Corinthians 5:21 also tells us He actually took our place and fell for us…and in trading places with us…again now delivers us safely in victory, without blemish, to the Holy Father at the bottom. While I’m sure my friend Josh would say making it to the bottom of Mt. Rainier and completing that journey was an unbelievable feeling, as a brother in Christ, I suspect He would also tell us the joy he felt pales in comparison to the everlasting euphoria we will experience when we complete our journey on this Earth and meet Him face to face in eternity.