Eight days ago on June 3rd, Alex Honnold shocked the world by reaching the famous peak of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park climbing alone without using ropes or any safety gear. It had never been done before. Honnold accomplished the “free-solo” climb of the imposing 3,000-foot granite wall in 3 hours and 56 minutes. As one of the world’s elite climbers, he had worked toward this historic climb for eight years. Relying on his unique blend of athleticism and intense focus, Honnold scaled El Capitan relying on his bare hands and death-defying grip. In one notoriously hard section of the climb, the holds in the rock face were the width of a pencil.
It’s hard to overstate the physical and mental difficulties of a free solo ascent of the peak, which is considered by many to be the epicenter of the rock climbing world. It is a vertical expanse stretching more than a half mile up—higher than the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. From the meadow at the foot of El Capitan, climbers on the peak’s upper reaches are practically invisible to the naked eye.
It is a zigzagging odyssey that traces several spidery networks of cracks and fissures, some gaping, others barely a knuckle wide. Along the way, Honnold squeezed his body into narrow chimneys, tiptoed across ledges the width of matchboxes, and in some places, dangled in the open air by his fingertips. Honnold stated shortly after his historic climb, “There was no uncertainty on this. I knew exactly what to do the whole way. A lot of the handholds feel like old friends.”
You may never free solo climb El Capitan, but you can learn to do something even more thrilling and eternally significant and that is to cling to the Lord. I want to give you some clinging inspiration and insights this morning from God’s Word. And if you will commit to master the discipline, like Alex Honnold, the handholds of biblical clinging will come to feel like old friends.