CLIMB­ING THE NEW YEAR

Activated - - NEWS - By Cur­tis Peter van Gorder Cur­tis Peter van Gorder is a scriptwriter and mime artist2 in Ger­many.

Even the best climbers need guides when they climb un­fa­mil­iar moun­tains. In fact, only a fool­hardy novice would try to go with­out one—a novice like me.

Years ago, I was on va­ca­tion in Switzer­land, and on the last day, a friend and I de­cided to climb a nearby moun­tain. It was late af­ter­noon by the time we got started, and we hadn’t gone far be­fore we passed a rugged shep­herd on his way down with his sheep, af­ter a day of graz­ing them fur­ther up the moun­tain. “Dark­ness comes early and sud­denly in the moun­tains,” he warned. “Wait un­til tomorrow and hire a guide.” But tomorrow would be too late. By the next af­ter­noon, we’d be on a train home, so we trekked on.

As sure as night fol­lows day, we were soon in near to­tal dark­ness. Be­cause it was over­cast, there wasn’t even any moon­light or starlight. We could barely make out the rocky trail right at our feet, let alone see ahead. One mis­step and we would go tum­bling down the moun­tain. We would have to spend the night on the moun­tain.

We had one sleep­ing bag with us, so we took turns sleep­ing in it.

Then it started to rain—pour, ac­tu­ally. Now we were not only cold but also drenched, and so was our sleep­ing bag. We man­aged to take refuge un­der an out­crop­ping of rock, and af­ter what seemed like an eter­nity, dawn broke, the rain stopped, and we were able to make our des­cent.

On our way down, we passed the same shep­herd we had talked to the pre­vi­ous af­ter­noon. He shook his head in si­lence and gave us a look that was a mix of amuse­ment and relief. Had it got­ten much colder that night, we could have died of ex­po­sure.

Tak­ing on the chal­lenges of the new year is like climb­ing a moun­tain: Al­though it’s a lot of hard work and po­ten­tially dan­ger­ous, it holds spe­cial re­wards for those who rise to the chal­lenge and don’t quit till they reach the sum­mit.

But some­times we be­come too self-con­fi­dent and feel that we can go it alone. If we’re smart, we’ll re­al­ize that we need the help of a moun­tain guide, and of course there’s no bet­ter guide than Je­sus, the “Chief Shep­herd” of our souls. He knows where the green pas­tures are, as well as

1 where the dan­gers lie. If we stay close to Him, He will help us reach our goals for the com­ing year. 1. See 1 Peter 5:4. 2. http://elixir­mime.com

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