We have a brick retaining wall that runs for about sixty feet behind our house. Andrew, my five-year-old, has been dying to walk along the top of the wall since he was old enough to walk. This afternoon he took his maiden voyage.
At each end, the wall is about three feet high. From there it bumps up to five feet. In the center it is eight feet tall. The highest section runs for about thirty feet before dropping back down to five feet.
After a long and repetitive lecture about how he is never to climb up on the wall unless Daddy is watching, and after answering a series of questions regarding other adults that might be acceptable supervisors, I nervously set him up on the three-foot section of wall. Without hesitation he traversed the lower section. He managed to pull himself up to the five-foot section and had no problem there, either.
When he reached the highest section of wall, I could tell his confidence and bravado were waning. He walked almost the entire length of the wall before he finally looked down at me and said, “Daddy, I don’t want to do this anymore.”
Immediately, I stretched out my arms and said, “Jump.”
He looked at the wall. Then he looked at me. Then he looked back at the wall. And again down at me. He bent his knees slightly and said, “Are you going to catch me?”
To which I responded, “No, I am going to move at the last minute and let you fall to the ground.” Just kidding.
“Yes, Andrew,” I said. “I will catch you.”
Without another moment of hesitation, he jumped into my arms. When I started to put him down, he clung to my neck. So I stood there holding him for a few precious, insightful seconds.
When he jumped he was still very much afraid. But his confidence in me was stronger than his fear of jumping. He honoured me with his act of courage. There was never any question as to whether I could or would catch him. The issue was whether his confidence in me would supersede his fear. It did. And in that moment, I experienced in a small way what our Father experiences when we act on our faith in spite of our feelings and surroundings.
The higher the wall, the greater the honour.
Great visions are like high walls.
– Excerpt by Andy Stanley, Visioneering.