Get A Grip 10

IMG_3754 - Version 2How does this thing move?

Took our first cable car ride a few weeks ago, my guy and I. Crammed onto the tiny platform at the rear of the car and wrapped our fleecy jackets tight against the chilly gray day, reaching up to grasp the cold metal poles.

The conductor operating the rear brakes was a middle-aged man from the Philippines. As it turns out, this unassuming man could simultaneously carry on a perfectly fluid conversation in French with the Parisienne graduate student next to us and sternly chastise Greg and me for our awkward (and entirely unsuccessful) attempts at staying outside the yellow painted area. (An area which was marked in big, bold letters, “DO NOT STEP HERE OR YOU WILL RECEIVE AN EMBARRASSING SCOLDING. ALSO, YOU MIGHT DIE.” At least that’s what I think it said.)

Our conductor also proved to be a brilliant encyclopedia of cable car history and technology. Sensing I was in the presence of greatness, I ventured a question: “Um, how does this thing work?”

Our resident genius pointed to a slit down the middle of the asphalt, under which we could see a thick, twisted metal rope. He explained that this cable formed a constantly-moving loop through the city. In order for the cable car to progress, a grip located on the underside of the car latched onto the cable and pulled the car along at a steady 9.5 mph. Up steep inclines, down treacherous hills—always forward, always 9.5 mph.

3623314823_238095e818Letting go of the cable

Lately I’ve been feeling like this cable car as I’ve been drug along the ups and downs of looking for a job.

Sometimes I find myself chugging up a ridiculously steep hill, climbing, climbing, climbing. I get weary of the monotony, exhausted by the effort. The elusive summit fails to appear, and the thought crosses my mind that—just perhaps—some prankster has mischievously rerouted the cable. A disappointing phone call here; a dead end prospect there.

As I labor uphill, I am tempted to simply let go of the cable and stop dead in my tracks, even risking sliding downhill. Yes, that would be nice, I tell myself. Just stop right here. Right now.

Other times I find myself easing down a friendly slope, fresh breezes cheering me on toward the goal. Hopeful vistas materialize out of nowhere, and my mind dares to hope that maybe—just maybe—I will arrive at my long-desired destination after all. A promising interview here; a surprise email there.

As I glide downhill, I am tempted to release the cable and fly full-bore toward the first option that presents itself, tossing caution to the wind and careening off track if need be. Enough waiting! No more wild goose chases for me!

The problem is …

… with either temptation, I risk losing everything this journey is meant to be:

  • Faith growing deep
  • God’s whispers in the silence
  • Unexpected blessings
  • A right result, at the right time

If experiencing all the abundant-life beauty of following Christ means I have to keep both disappointment and hope in check, then so be it. I’d far rather keep pace with Him than follow my capricious conclusions.

The Spirit’s timeline

Jesus once said to a seeker named Nicodemus: “The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit” (John 3:8).

Doesn’t that sound very much like that underground cable? The cable car can’t see where it comes from, nor where it leads. But if the car stays clasped for dear life to that ever-advancing line, it will arrive in good time.

I tire sometimes; I run ahead sometimes. But, in my heart of hearts, I know that there’s nowhere I’d rather be than tethered to the Spirit’s timeline.

You walk ahead, we fall behind,
The further we fade into the darkness.
And for all the times we run ahead,
Call us back to where Your heart is.

Oh, this could be the journey of a lifetime
Oh, we want to be tethered to Your timeline 

(It’s Your Revolution, by Jason Walker and Tim Timmons)


Are you with me? I could use some fellow passengers.

Still following His voice,



Leave a comment

10 thoughts on “Get A Grip

  • Judy Fossgreen

    Just like the wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit, it reminds me of Prov. 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Lean not to your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths.” Sometimes we have no idea what God has ahead of us (such as a great job just for you). Our part is not to figure it all out or plan it out totally. Our part is just to trust in Him and look for Him along the way. He is truly directing your paths. He has you in the palm of His mighty hands. Time to relax and enjoy the journey. Love you!

    • Jeanelle Reider Post author

      Such a good pairing of God’s truth! Thank you so much, Judy. Thank you for your so-very-encouraging words to me this morning! I’m SUCH a planner, and I think being in a situation where I cannot plan is exactly the tool God is using to till my heart just now. So I will rest right there in the palm of His perfectly capable and loving hands. And I will try to choose to relax and enjoy this stretch of the road, too–thank you again!

    • Jeanelle Reider Post author

      I love those words too–been singing them nonstop (and wishing I’d thought of them myself)! :) Thanks to my husband for that shot of me on the cable car! Hmm, was it worth all the effort? It’s most definitely worth it in the sense that God is reminding me of my absolute dependence on Him. As far as my job search itself, I’m confident it WILL be worth it but I can’t quite see HOW yet! I’ll be sure to let everyone know when God brings me to the job He’s holding safely in His pocket for me!

  • Carlotta

    Jeanelle, thanks for the great article. Yes, I’m right there with you on a very similar journey. Thank you for the reminder to keep hope and disappointment in check, to keep listening for the one voice that matters and to stay tethered to the Spirit’s timeline. As C.S. Lewis said, “Relying on God has to begin all over again every day as if nothing had yet been done.”

    • Jeanelle Reider Post author

      Carlotta, it’s good to have a fellow sojourner trusting God for similar things! I’m praying for you today to hear His voice as you stay connected to Him too. C.S. Lewis is absolutely right (though it would be so much easier to be able to coast on yesterday’s lessons). I’m glad at least we have the Shepherd’s past faithfulness to remind us that we can trust Him, always (kind of like looking back from the rear of the trolley). :)

  • Theresa

    Keep hanging on! I love your analogy of the cable car and the spiritual life. The idea that disappointment and hope often walk together is so true. My son and I were talking about the end of another school year and he was both sad and happy. Happy to have a long summer stretching before him, sad to wrap up learning for awhile. Bittersweet, he kept saying. Bittersweet.

  • Daniel

    What encouraging and beautiful words! How easy it is for us to just let go of that cable, or worse still to try to jump off the tracks. It takes courage and patience to plug along at a slow pace down God’s chosen path. You have both, and I am so proud of you! Plus, that picture is awesome!

    • Jeanelle Reider Post author

      Thanks, Son—you’ve blessed me immensely by your words! That you say I have both, well, that’s the best encouragement ever! (I know you and Molly are praying me through every jostle and bump, and it means the world to me.) (I wonder if the “awesome” picture is one of the two I took, or the other one I borrowed from the web?) :)