A marriage retreat I attended last year at Winshape included a ropes course. The final element was a 40-foot tandem jump off a telephone pole. It had been years since I’d done something so unnecessary—years since I’d experienced a kind of shuttering in my knees. But my wife scampered right up the pole, so, I had nowhere to hide. One thought came back to me which calmed my mind and limbs: “Trust your equipment.” That trust gave me the freedom to go air-born.
One of my favorite quotations acts like a knot at the end of a rope. It was penned by an old Oxford Don named C.S. Lewis, best known these days for his series, The Chronicles of Narnia. Some of his writing is like herding cats–-he could stroll through a crowd of unwieldy concerns and restore order with the turn of a phrase. My favorite among his quips seems to do just that: to tame a number of big hairy questions all at once. He said,
“If the universe were meaningless, we could never have found out.”
He is alluding to one of the rudimentary questions of philosophy, “Why is there something instead of nothing?” In a season of struggle, Lewis’s quote may feel like too cool a response to burning questions—more for a head already inclined to agree than for a heart seeking its true home.
When things fall apart and we wonder, “Where was God?”, insights like this may not scratch in quite the right place. We need a warmer, more personal sense of assurance. So it should not surprise us that God connects with people through faith. Faith means trust. It’s personal, relational. It requires some measure of vulnerability. It means shifting your weight, hoping to find a foothold.
Every healthy relationship requires trust. Likewise, only trust allows a person to make an authentic, enduring connection with God. Still, anyone, even after years experiencing the reality of trust, can have thoughts and moods which run against trust. They may even step off their foundation and slide down the rope of doubt. It’s why Thomas Jefferson said, “When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.”
What core conviction has been like a knot at the end of your rope? (Let us know by clicking “comment” above.)
The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. Hebrews 11:1 (The Message).
When I feel like I am slipping down that rough rope the knot that catches me every time is remembering the past where He proved, time and again, that He had me in his grip and even if I let go, he had been the safety net ready to catch me. I didn’t always recognize it at the time, it’s through looking back and His allowing me to see His hand in it, that gives me that knot at the end to hold onto today. And the things that cause me to slip down that rope today, will be the things I know I will grab onto in the future as further “proof”.
Knowing Jesus is always there. He is my knot to keep me from falling into oblivion.