Playing tug-of-war as a kid, I can remember the sting of having the rope snatched out of my hand after what seemed like hours of grunting and pulling to get the W for our team. My hands would burn and turn red and swell for a while. They needed time to recover. To cool down. To relax.
I remember another rope in my childhood. The ‘ol suspended rope in the school gymnasium. It hung there like a beacon and seemed to say to me “I’m bigger than you, I’m stronger than you and there’s no need to even try!”. I wouldn’t have touched that rope with a 10 foot pole if it weren’t for the Presidential Physical Fitness Test we were required to do. The odds were already stacked against me with my non-athletic build and my love for mac and cheese at that age. That part of the test, I failed. Every. Single. Time.
As an adult, I taught pre-schoolers for a while. At this age, children are beginning to learn the concept of walking in a straight line. An old teacher’s trick is to grab a rope and have each child take hold with one hand. If those children held on to the rope, one behind the other, we could get to our destination without losing anyone. They trusted the Lead Teacher in the front of the line and always enjoyed strolling to wherever we were headed.
Rope can burn. Rope can intimidate. And rope can make a crooked path straight. It all depends on how you treat it.
When God invites us to follow His lead, we are given a choice of how to respond.
Will we grab hold with white knuckles, jerking and pulling at each turn to do things our own way?
Will we step away and lean against the wall, allowing the opportunity to pass by?
Or will we take hold with childlike faith and look forward to the adventure?
Is God extending an invitation for you to follow Him now? Is He asking you to step out, take hold and trust His lead? To walk so close behind Him that you can’t see where you’re going?
Is He calling you to follow Him into a ministry you never saw yourself in before?
Is He calling you to reach out and reconcile with an old friend?
Is He beckoning you to step out in faith and become more generous with your finances?
Is He asking you to step into a new career path or go back to school?
What does your rope look like today?
Grabbing hold of that…that thing…that rope that He has placed in front of us, is an invitation to follow His lead…to explore new territory…to step in cadence with the only real mover and shaker this world has ever seen.
Now that is a journey we should all want to take!
Those children trusted me as their leader. They knew I would never put them in harm’s way. That I wouldn’t leave them behind if one tripped and fell, and that I wouldn’t ask them to travel at a pace they couldn’t keep up with.
And they knew at the end of our stroll there would be a time that they could let go of the rope and enjoy the benefits of having followed my lead.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.”
He is our Waymaker… It’s His road, not ours,
He is our Caretaker…He’s protective, not careless.
He is our Pacemaker…It’s His timing, not ours.
Friend, there will always be a new piece of rope dangling in front of you. It’s an invitation to step from your comfort zone and step into His footprint. It’s an opportunity to grow and mature and learn. It’s a call to surrender your own understanding of His invitation and follow Him down the hall.
I’ve grabbed hold of two invitations from Him in the last few weeks. Two opportunities to get burned, get left behind, or go on an adventure.
I’m here to report that I’m doing just fine!
Praying for you who are reaching with fear and trembling-trust Him, He’s trustworthy…