The Ladder – By J.P Ashley
This is definitely a familiar object to most of us. An object most powerfully used in management and leadership. One of the definitions of ladder is ascending stages by which somebody or something can progress. The one most useful when reaching high, when traveling up, when moving from bottom to top and vice versa.
Success mantras depict one’s life as climbing on an imaginary ladder. In the powerhouses of commerce and fame, ladder is the oft sought after one. Right from the time one learns of its existence, every man and women desire but one thing – climb at all costs. Well, there are sacrifices, there are changes but the climb continues. But the question many fail to ask as they climb is “What is at the end?” One reason for this grave mistake is that no one knows for sure! Well, you have all the new age philosophers who present various ‘ends’ at the top, but the clarity of the outcome is just lost to the many who continually seek and steadfastly climb the ladder of one’s dream.
I recollect one such who did climb the ladder bartering values, ethics, humility, love and many more to gain wealth, fame, success and much more. He was very sure he was at the top, when the ladder just vanished and he fell not to the ground but to the hell beneath. Yes, I am taking about the rich man from the parable of Lazarus as told by Jesus himself. Luke 16:19-31
But then, the question that would arise is – “Are we not supposed to climb ladders?”
Oh! Yes, we are definitely supposed to climb, but the question is ‘Which Ladder?’
He was running away, away from it all, away from his desires, away from his mistakes, away from his guilt, away from his fear, away from himself. Now all alone, he cried out to the One, and laid his head to rest. Then the heavens opened and behold he saw the glory of the Lord at the top of the ladder. Gen 28:10-22. Fondly called as Jacob’s ladder, it is the one true ladder available to each one who surrenders, confesses, repents and believes in Jesus. And in sharp contrast to the ladders of this world, this ladder has indeed an end – the open arms of our Father, lovingly beckoning us with pure love and much joy.
The beauty of this ladder is the promise it holds, “I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go….I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you” Gen 28:15
We all have access to this ladder of life, but we can only see it when we believe in the Lord Jesus as the only way, truth and life. Then God will reveal to us this ladder. But then comes the second difficult part – climbing! For each step of the ladder will have its temptations – winds that buffet us, push us, confuse us, control us, and cause us to fall. Yes, angels do stand all around us to protect us, but they will only be able to help us if we let them and that calls for complete surrender. Yes, the ladder is God’s and the climb is ours, but we fragile as we are, will not be able to climb up and up, unless we hold the hand of God and walk behind Him.
Have you ever climbed a high rise building when it is being built? Do so, and you will feel the power of the winds and the higher you climb, the more difficult it will be. It is the same in the ladder of life, the higher you go, the more difficult it is and more is the temptations you face. But if you are faithfully holding the hand of Jesus and trustingly following his every step, surrendering our ‘dominant and rebellious will’ to his perfect will, then we will realize that we cannot fall nor fail, no matter what assails us.
Yes, the gift is at the end, eternity with God himself. But there is something else and that is the reflection. The higher we climb holding on to the Lord’s hand, the brighter we shine, for the glory of the Lord starts to reflect in us and in our very lives. But this light needs to be used to show others THE WAY – Jesus.
Know then, dear friend, that there is indeed a ladder, a real ladder right next to you and this ladder is not imaginary like the ones the world seeks, but is a gift from the creator himself. The first is to find that ladder and that is by acknowledging Jesus as Lord and Savior and the second is to climb holding Jesus’ hand like a child and the third is to reflect Jesus’ light to all those we pass by showing them that there is a real ladder available for them too. – Ashley J.P