I can tell you the exact moment I regretted my decision.
A few weeks before, my daughter had announced that she wanted to go to a high-ropes and zipline course with friends for her eleventh birthday. I thought it would be a great activity—that is, until the moment I found myself 10 feet above the rainforest canopy on a platform with no railings, hugging a tree trunk.
I was fine during the safety briefing and while the instructor fitted me with a harness and a special clip-and-release system that would ensure I was always connected to the safety line. I was even fine when I donned my helmet and gloves and practiced clipping on and off the line. It was only when I left the ground that I realized I was definitely not fine.
My daughter and her friends went first. They clambered up the ladder, transferred their safety clip to the overhead wire, and skipped across the wobbly wooden bridge (with every second plank missing) with ease. Then it was my turn. Internally, I was conflicted. This was a major tourist attraction at a well-known wildlife park. Their risk assessment was thorough, with thousands of people going through the course every year. Psychologically, I knew I was safe, but I didn’t feel safe. At more than double the weight of the girls, I felt sure the wire wasn’t strong enough to hold me. The ground was so far away. I was going to lose my balance and fall. There was no way I could do this!
But then I took my first wobbly step onto the bridge. Although I clung to the safety line above my head for dear life, I made my way to the other side step by careful step. I did it! I celebrated—possibly too enthusiastically given the relatively low height of the obstacle. Crucially though, it gave me the confidence to finish the course. And you know what? I had an absolute blast.
So what was the secret to my success? How did I go from a quaking bundle of fear to a carefree, adventure seeker? Was it that I’d suddenly transformed into a balancing, light-footed, tree-climbing ninja? No. The transformation had nothing to do with my skill level or capability. It came down to one simple fact: I trusted the safety line.
the experience of salvation
One of the most fundamental pillars of the Christian faith revolves around a big word, salvation. Salvation is the process by which we become aware of a dark, corrupting influence that degrades the beauty of both the world and us. We then recognize the solution to that problem: Jesus. By putting our trust in Him and His death on the cross, we accept Jesus as our Substitute and are welcomed into the family of God. The cost of this corruption (called sin by Christians) is paid in full by Him on our behalf. “He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5, NKJV). Because of Jesus’ sacrifice more than 2,000 years ago on a hill outside Jerusalem, you and I can live as brand-new humans.
This is, of course, wonderful news! However, it’s one thing to know the process by which we are saved. It’s an entirely different thing to feel as though we are saved. Many Christians worldwide are comfortable talking about the sacrificial death of Jesus and how His life and death provide redemption for all. But do we really believe it? Just like me clinging to a tree trunk high above the ground, life has a way of making us question whether what we believe is really true. Can I truly trust the safety line of salvation by faith? I know God’s grace is for everyone, but after all the things I’ve done, does that really include me?
Thankfully, we’re not the first to wrestle with these questions. The Bible is full of people who were equally awed and perplexed by the process of salvation. Moses doubted his calling and asked God to find an alternative. Peter was sure he’d blown it when he denied he even knew Jesus. Paul wrestled with his violent past throughout his life. Having once been a persecutor of Jesus’ followers, Paul experienced a radical transformation that could only be the work of the Holy Spirit. But it’s almost as though he needed to remind himself of that fact regularly. Consider Romans 8:1: “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus” (NKJV). There used to be condemnation. For sins. For transgressions. For selfishness. For deceit. For destructive anger. But now? Now, if we are in Christ Jesus—if we accept His life and death as a substitute for our own—there is no condemnation! Moses, Peter, and Paul gave their wayward past to Jesus and set their hearts on devoutly following Him. Because they trusted Him to forgive their past, they were strengthened to follow Him with unswerving devotion in the present.
Jesus is the ultimate safety line
It’s such a simple concept, yet it’s so hard to fully embrace. In a society that celebrates self-made millionaires and idolizes personal growth, it’s hard to escape the DIY approach. In case you need more evidence that this is a gift and not something we do ourselves, consider Titus 3:4, 5: “When the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.”
The mercy of God, through the life and death of Jesus, saves us and allows the Spirit to write God’s law of love on our hearts. This beautiful truth of salvation is your safety line. It’s the thing that keeps you from falling. You might stumble and trip. You might even lose your footing and feel as though you can’t hold on. The good news is that your safety line—the grace of God—is holding you. You can know with certainty that you are saved, not because of anything you have done but because of everything that Jesus has done for you. You don’t have to work toward your own redemption; rather, you can live a life of joy and freedom in the full assurance of salvation, here and now.
Understanding salvation is one of the most profound and life-changing journeys you can embark on. When you truly understand what Jesus did for you, you are released to become all that He has called you to be. By staying connected to Him, your entire being will be transformed. The things that matter to God’s heart will matter to you. You’ll see the world the way God sees it. Trusting the safety line of His grace gives you a new perspective. It allows you to take risks; enjoy the scenery; to encourage others on their journey.
When we learn to trust the saving power of the infinite love and mercy of God, it doesn’t matter how high or low life takes us. It doesn’t matter if there’s only a single wire to cling to. It doesn’t matter if the steps move or if our footing is uncertain. Our security rests solely and completely on Jesus. As you daily trust in Him, you are saved. It’s that simple.
Now trust the safety line and become the person He has called you to be!
Karen Collum is an Australian children’s author, chaplain, and theology student. She lives on the Gold Coast, Queensland.