A few months after my mom died, I went on a ropes course retreat with our life group team. We went for team-building exercises. One of the exercises we did was to climb a tight wire between poles. On the first few poles, you could have help from a friend. The last rope was twenty feet between poles. We had to walk on this tight wire, and the only help you could have was a rope hanging down from one of the poles.
As I went out on that tight wire, I held the rope and had to walk backwards so I could put my weight onto the rope. I held on, and I leaned back. As I walked out, the closer I got to the middle, the more the rope just shook uncontrollably. I had to cling tighter to the rope than I thought imaginable. At that time, I was so focused on getting across the rope, I couldn’t hear anyone encouraging me. I could only hear faint noises in the background. I knew my team was on the sidelines, cheering me on, but they couldn’t lend me a hand. They couldn’t come give me support or walk alongside me. But they were there. They were on the sidelines. As I edged closer and closer to the end, there was a person who had just finished that exact course. They reached out their hand as far as they could, and I reached out mine. I let go of the rope with one hand, reached out, and I grabbed their hand. They helped me get to the end of the course safely.
As I looked back, I let go of the rope, and it swung to the other side to the person behind me who was next to do the challenge. After I finished, everyone was cheering. I could hear everyone. At that point, I could tell they had been with me all along.
John 6:33 says, “In this world you will have trouble, but take heart, I have overcome the world.” As I reflected on that challenge, I realized every person is either coming out of a trial, in the middle of the shakiest part of the trial, or just getting ready to go through it. There was someone in the end who had just finished and was standing there, waiting with encouragement and an arm to help me out because they had already made it to the other side. Meanwhile, someone was behind me, getting ready to go on the exact same journey I had gone on.
Although I felt alone on the tightrope, all of these other people were on my side. They were ahead of me, behind me, and alongside me. They were so encouraging! But I was so consumed with what I was going through at the time that I couldn’t hear them. I couldn’t receive their help. I couldn’t receive their encouragements. That is the loneliest time when you are going through the trial—when there is no one on the tight wire with you, and all you have is this rope.
God is like the rope. He is with me. He is my support. I put all my weight on Him. As I walked across, I gave Him everything. I had no choice but to let Him bear the weight of my burden. By faith, I walked backwards. I took one step at a time with no sight. The end was not in view. I could not see it, but I just continued on until I reached back and held the hand of a friend who pulled me up to shore.
I want to encourage you that while you might be in the middle of a trial, or you might have just finished going through one, or you might be about to go through one, we have all been there. We are all in times of hardship in some way or another. We’ve been there, we’ve been through it, and we’re getting ready to go through it again. There are people cheering for you.
At that middle point where it is the shakiest, when your knees are shaking and you can’t hear anyone encouraging you, I want you to know there are people there. They are present. You just can’t feel it. You can’t know it. What the enemy wants to do more than anything is to make you feel other people are not there, that they are not encouraging you. The enemy wants you to begin relying on that feeling of loneliness rather than knowing you are loved and supported by so many who are cheering. They are praying for you. They are giving you the greatest gift, which is the power of God through prayer. They are supporting you. They are holding up your arms like Aaron and Hur did when Moses held up his arms for the Israelites to win the battle.
I want you to know you can take heart in the overcoming power of Jesus Christ, and as you hold on to Him and you step by faith and keep moving forward, there is a way out.