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RELIGION: Sure-footed as a mountain goat

April 14, 2021 at 5:22 a.m.

I was having the time of my life! Jumping across the mountainside like a goat, I wasn't missing a step. Never lost my footing or even slipped. I hadn't been in the cabin for a half-hour, so dad walked around the cabin looking for me.

A brief background ...

I grew up in El Cajon, now a suburb of San Diego, and was one of 10 children. I didn't know what it was like to be by myself because our family provided our small society. If no one visited us, we always had company -- each other. I didn't know what it was like to be by myself, and really didn't know what to do if I were by myself. But life was about to change!

A member of the church offered dad and mom their mountainside cabin near Big Bear in the San Bernardino Mountains (California) for up to a week. Dad and mom accepted and asked me to go with them for a weekend vacation.

"Me? All by myself? I get to go with you?" I blurted out. I could hardly believe it.

Dad laughed. "Yes, you, all by yourself ...with mother and me, of course, to keep you company." I was in the fifth heaven, on cloud nine, or however you want to say it. "Ecstatic!" might have described my feelings.

Mom took three days to plan what she would take. Moms do things like that. But it took me about 10 minutes to jam some clothes and a toothbrush into a shopping bag, and I was ready. Boys do things like that.

We didn't have freeways that went from I-8 to I-15 to I-215, to State Road 38 to get us from El Cajon to Big Bear in less than three hours. What we now call the backroads were the major highways back in 1956. And with speed limits topping out at 55 mph -- if traffic allowed -- it took us about six hours to get there.

The first evening there, mom got out a 500-piece puzzle for us to put together. My thoughts were: putting 500 little bits of cardboard that had almost identical shapes into a picture was the next thing to crazy. But I helped. My specialty was ignoring the overall picture and looking for colors that match. Mom said I was a big help. Perhaps. Finally, the picture was fixed.

But I couldn't believe the next step. After we got it all together, MOM BROKE IT UP AND PUT IT BACK IN THE BOX! I never got over it, and I don't care for working puzzles to this day.

Now, where was I? Oh yes. Dad was looking for me.

"Eugene!" Dad called out. Probably several times. But with the energy of a 10-year-old, the freedom of flight as I leapt -- I felt like I was flying -- from boulder to boulder, I didn't hear Dad.

He finally saw me, and nearly came unglued. I was leaping from one huge Southern California boulder to the next. If I missed my step and fell, I would drop at least 10 feet among the huge granite formations and break several bones in the process. Dad went totally quiet; he didn't want to distract me.

When I stopped for a breath, dad quickly called me again. I heard him this time. But he had taken time to watch my face, analyze my moves, and determine that I was safe.

"You're the best rock jumper I've ever seen, boy!" was like music to my ears. "I don't see how you do it, but you somehow know how to jump and land as sure-footed as a mountain goat. I suppose I don't have to worry about you after all."

At 10 years of age, how did I know how to maneuver like a mountain goat? Confidence was involved. However, the major factors were a keen eye, lightning-quick reflexes, great sense of balance and strong ankles. Only then do we add confidence.

Throughout life, the same factors are necessary. But in life, our confidence -- confidence in the Lord Jesus Christ -- should come first. As we trust in Jesus, He helps us develop a keen eye, quick reflexes and sense of balance to maneuver through our many ever-present challenges. A dynamic relationship with Jesus is gained as we read and study the Bible. We become sure-footed and move over our many problems without falling, if we intentionally live for Him.

-- S. Eugene Linzey is the author of 'Charter of the Christian Faith.' Send comments and questions to [email protected] Visit his website at The opinions expressed are those of the author.


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