Fair Games and Faith Life

Have you ever been to the Simcoe Fair? Or perhaps the Caledonia Fair is more your speed? If you have attended either one on these events, there is always one particular “fair game” that tickles my fancy more than all the rest. While I do not have the official name for it, I have it pictured here below…

If you are not familiar with this game, the goal is to simply climb the ladder to the top. If you do, there is usually a bell or a prize that you grab, or something along those lines. Now, this may seem pretty easy, but the difficulty comes with the fact that the ladder is constructed in such a way that it is only fastened to one point at each end. This takes what would normally be a sturdy ladder and turns it into a spindle. Think of it as though you are standing on a log in water. If you start to walk in one direction, the log spins and it is more easy to fall off. With the ladder, if your balance sways in either direction, the ladder will tumble and you will fall off.

Now, why is this my favorite game at the fair? Honestly, there are two reasons. First, it is very entertaining to watch. I have made a fool of myself enough times in trying as well, but watching as people attempt this brings delight and many smiles to those that look on. Seeing someone be a single rung from the top only to have an epic fall is laughter-inducing (note: only because of the soft landing that is guaranteed). My second reason for enjoying this game is because it is defeatable with a little understanding of balance, gravity, and science. This appeals to the scientific and logical side of myself, but I digress.

To this point, it may seem strange to be squawking about fair games that are half a year away. However, this picture of this ladder game is the focal point of an object lesson for students at our chapel service this week. The spindle ladder game was compared to rock climbing. Rock climbing is a physically exhausting sport in which you scale vertical walls of rock to try to reach the top (much like the ladder game from the fair). Rock climbers need to put a lot of faith in the rock that they holding that it is not going to give out on them.

This week, students were challenged to analyze the substance of what they truly put faith into. The things of this world are like the ladder challenge at the fair. It can seem steady as you start, but the sway of a slight breeze can cause epic tumbles. A misplaced step on the ladder can cause you to turn over and fall.

However, if we put our faith in Jesus and live life according to His teachings, it is like climbing the rock wall. It is not as though we can move anywhere without a little of our own effort; however, we can be sure that the rock that we are holding onto will not give way. In addition, in those times when we fall off/down the rock wall, it is usually due taking our hands/feet off the rock and trusting our own strength.

Finally, I ask, what is the purpose of climbing a rock wall or ladder: GETTING TO THE TOP. What a glorious day and experience that will be to see what is at the top and looking back on the journey of getting there. May we all continue pressing on towards that goal. Keep your hands and feet on the rock and avoid the spinning ladders!

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