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Every group that visits our Youth For Christ high ropes course starts with a safety briefing and a class on how to use the related safety equipment. I could tell from the very beginning that Jared wasn’t very excited about taking part in this new experience. While his friends were visibly excited to begin climbing up the 40’ tall towers to begin the course, Jared was looking for a way out. His life story had many chapters of being let down by others and the idea of depending on his teammates while hanging four stories off the ground was terrifying. From pervious experiences, trust was something that Jared had learned not to give freely.

One of the many reasons we love working with students on the high ropes course is that it naturally provides an introduction for us to talk about trust. In a world where so many young people are carrying the fallout from broken promises and fractured relationships the question of “who do we trust?” will likely lead to an interesting conversation.

Although Jared had some pretty big doubts about heading up the cargo net to reach the upper tree house, he also wanted to try.  With his friends cheering him from above he made slow but steady upward progress towards joining them on the gently swaying platform. Through help and encouragement from his peers, Jared carefully navigated the upper level of the obstacle course which eventually led him to the final zip line where he sailed through the air, landing back on the ground to a round of applause and high fives from his friends. Jared’s earlier desire for escape was replaced with a sense of accomplishment. His trust was rewarded.

Sometimes God uses a bunch of ropes, telephone poles and lofty tree houses to awaken the hope in a young person that the idea of trusting again might just be possible.

As the day came to an end, Jared’s group leader talked about Jesus. She explained how forgiveness from God is possible through trusting in Jesus. It’s a fitting topic after a group has spent the last few hours involved in an experience where giving and receiving trust is a necessity and for a kid like Jared the door to trusting again in the future opened a little bit wider.

-Steve Prettyman
*Names have been changed