Up The Flagpole

By Pastor Eric Everhart

A couple of weeks ago, during a strong spring storm, our flags came to the ground after the wind snapped the line that attached them. Our flagpole is about 35 feet tall. When the line broke, it came entirely out of the pulley that once held on to it.

Well, this past weekend, I had one of the dumbest ideas of all times—a good old fashion “guy idea.” I figured if I could get a 35-foot extension ladder, I could run the ladder up the flagpole and climb to the top of the pole to run a new line. And that is what we did! Going straight up the mast, we strapped the extension ladder at the lowest point, and my daughter pressed the ladder against the pole as I began the journey to the top. What could go wrong, right?

The first few steps weren’t too bad, and I was feeling pretty confident about my decision to do this. Then about halfway up, I could feel the pole starting to sway in the wind. The flagpole and I rocked back and forth as I took slower, more cautious steps. About three quarters up the pole, my confidence was replaced by doubt, and I started to get a bit worried. The further I got from the ground, the more unstable things were; the ladder began to slide, and I could feel my legs shaking. I remember saying, “This is a bad idea!” But I’m a guy, and I had to finish the job. I’ve got this! The swaying and shaking worsened as I neared the top rung of the ladder. The pole and I were swaying left to right as I stretched out to run the new line through the pulley. Got it! Then it was time to get down as fast as I could and get my feet planted on solid ground.

Brothers and sisters, that’s just what happens when we lose our focus on Christ in our daily faith walk. We get caught up in confidence we have created, convincing ourselves that “I’ve got this!” We skip a few mornings of Scripture reading, we shorten our prayers to ensure we don’t miss our favorite TV show, or maybe we don’t get around to either of those because we are spending all our time swiping through the never-ending garbage of social media. Before you know it, we’re sleeping in on Sunday morning. Why gather the family and join with the church online for worship—we can catch it later. But later comes and goes and the time gets crowded with other things.

The truth is, the further we get away from our Rock, Jesus Christ, the shakier our life will get. Our worries overcome us with fear, our confidence replaced by doubt, molehills become mountains, and our lives will seem tenuous at every step. The further we travel from solid ground, the more unstable our lives will become, and we will find ourselves swaying in the winds of the world. The devil will have you right where he wants you—at the top of that flagpole.

Jesus calls us to stay close to him, to stand on solid ground. Many times Scripture refers to Jesus as our rock, but I specifically love how Psalm 62:2 spells it out, “Truly, [Jesus] is my rock and salvation, he is my fortress and I shall not be shaken.” When we focus on Christ instead of the world, WE SHALL NOT BE SHAKEN! He is with us through good and bad, and when we trust in him, he will give us the strength, the confidence, and the power to overcome all things.

Feeling worried? Having doubts? Experiencing fear and lacking confidence? Be truly honest—what’s the distance between you and the Rock, Jesus Christ?

“Let us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from beginning to end.” Hebrews 12:2

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