The following is an excerpt from the book, Real Life Moments, by J. Mark Fox.
“Two are better than one … for if they fall, one will lift up his companion.” (Ecclesiastes 4:9,10)
Some of you may remember Steven Curtis Chapman’s song, “The Walk.”
The second verse says, “I got a friend named Larry; he sends me letters from a foreign land. He went there with his kids and his pretty wife, Mary, to answer a holy call … they’re just doing the walk.”
I have a good friend named Larry, too. In fact, it’s the same guy. Larry and Mary Warren were members of Antioch Church in the early 1990s, and we were privileged to ordain Larry and take part in sending him and his family to Africa.
He serves now as president of “African Leadership,” and because of Larry’s vision and God’s grace, more than 30,000 African pastors have received two years of training in the Bible and church leadership.
The Warrens are doing “the walk” and thousands in 29 countries of Africa are reaping the benefits. But let me tell you about a different walk that the Warrens took a few years ago.
Mt. Kilimanjaro is the tallest free-standing mountain in the world, at 19,500 feet. The Warrens spent seven days climbing that mountain, but Larry and Mary almost didn’t make it.
The last day of the climb was to begin at 10 p.m. and end the next afternoon at the summit. Larry asked why they would be climbing in the dark, not able to see where they were going. The guide answered, “Because if you could see where you were going, you would not climb!”
With only five hours to go to the summit, the guide had to make a decision. Some in the group were slowing the others down.
“I will separate the group into two, so that you can all keep up your pace and get to the top.” Larry said the guide separated the 12 climbers into a group of ten, and a group of two: Larry and Mary. Seems they were slowing down the pack just a bit.
Two guides remained with Larry and Mary, and the others raced ahead toward the summit. Larry said that the last five hours were grueling, and he was praying that Mary would quit, so he could quit with her.
Finally, with three hours left, Mary was done.
“I can’t go any further,” she said to the guides.
“Can you go for 30 more minutes?” the guide asked.
Mary agreed she could, thinking that the summit was a half-hour away.
“He used that same line about five more times!” Larry said. But it worked to keep them motivated and moving. With only an hour to go to the top, Mary was completely worn out. That’s when the guides did for the Warrens what we all need when it seems we cannot go on.
Larry said, “One went in front of us and Mary held onto his backpack. The second went behind her, pushing her on the back, and I came behind the second guide and held on as these men literally pushed and pulled us up the mountain.
“Yes, we kept walking. We did our part. We did the best we could, but it was the strength and determination of these experienced guides that helped us make it to the top.”
All of us need a push or a pull to get through difficult times; life itself can be a tough climb. I thank God for friends like Larry and Mary who have pulled me up a mountain or two, and pray I can do the same for others along the way.
Prayer: “Thank You, Lord, for friends who will give me a push when I need it.”
Action: Write a letter to a friend, thanking him for how he has helped you grow in your faith.