I’m at a playground with one of my friends and her kids, watching all the happy children running around me and praying – “Lord, one day I wouldn’t mind this…”
Then I notice the little mini ropes course. You know, the type that is basically monkey bars but with ropes to swing from instead of metal bars. I turn my head to the side a little and think, “wow, this is an elaborate playground,” before noticing the red-faced child hanging from the ropes. He’s about to have a breakdown. Here it comes…
At that moment, because I’m a jerk, I pray, “Nevermind, God, I’m good.” It takes a few seconds for me to realizes that I should help out the poor kid. You see, the little boy was stuck hanging on to two ropes. He had lost his bravery, and couldn’t bring himself to let go of the rope behind him in order to grab the next rope in front of him. It was just too scary to let go.
By this time, his father has come over (quick check for a wedding ring; darn) to help the boy out. But the dad didn’t just lift him off the ropes, and he didn’t just hand him the next rope. The dad held the boy’s waist, said, “I’ve got you. Let go and grab the next rope. I’m right here,” and assisted the boy in reaching the next rope.
How often am I like that little boy. I NEED to let go of one thing in order to reach the next one. But, man, I just can’t bring myself to do it. It is too scary, the stakes are too high, the price of failure too steep, the unknown too unpredictable. So I just hang there, in limbo, tantrum building in my throat.
God says to me, “I’ve got you. Go ahead and grab the next rope.”
I say, through clenched teeth, “But I like THIS rope, God. I don’t want to let go. I can be very happy here for a very long time. In fact, I plan on holding this rope forever.”
Patiently, calmly, God replies, “That rope is breaking. And your arms are shaking because they are tired. You can’t stay there. You have to let it go.”
Thankfully, I have a good Father. He doesn’t set me on the ground and say, “You’re right, that’s too hard, let’s find something easier.” But He also doesn’t let me fall. He loves me too much to leave me where I am, and He’s too good to take me somewhere I can’t survive with Him. He’s there to give me the strength and bravery to let go and reach for the next rope. The fall happens when I refuse to ask for His help. If I just hang there, my arms are going to get tired and I’m going to lose hold of BOTH ropes. My Father gives me what I need to let go of one successfully and reach out for the next.
“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose… What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? …No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”