This is an edited and updated version of a post I first published in January of 2010.
I heard a story told of a mountain climber who was climbing alone. Instead of stopping his climb as nightfall approached he continued on. It was cold and dark and getting darker and colder with each step he took, climbing higher and higher. Eventually, in the dark, he slipped and was caught by his ropes. He could not see above or below him.
He was just dangling there on the side of the mountain.
The climber was not a believer. I’ve heard there are no atheists in foxholes and I’m guessing they aren’t dangling from their ropes on the sides of mountains either. The climber said, “God, if you are there save me.”
An audible voice said, “Cut the rope.”
The climber could reach his knife, but he looked down and could see nothing but a black abyss. It is getting colder and he is getting desperate.
Again he said, “God, if you are really there, then SAVE ME.”
Again he heard the voice say, “Cut the rope.”
He could reach his knife, but the dark abyss scared him. He could not see anything. He could not trust the voice. So he did nothing. He just hung there.
The next morning he was found by a group of climbers, dangling from his rope, frozen to death…just 5 feet above the ground.
I don’t know about you, but I talk a good game of trust much better than I play the game of trust.
The (in)Courage perpetual calendar quotes Holley Gerth on January 14th. It says “…faith is also about believing that our obedience makes a difference – when we can’t see the results.” I agree with her. I want my faith to be that big.
I WANT to be totally dependent on the Lord, but often I keep my hand on things just enough to not fully relinquish control.
Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. The climber couldn’t see below him, but twice he was told to cut the rope. Twice he did not. He died.
Sometimes I am like that. I hold onto the rope, in the cold, dark night because I am afraid if I let go, I might fall.
But what do I miss when I hold tight to my own ideas? My own ways, thoughts and dreams instead of opening my hands and letting go? What would happen if I gave up complete and total control?