“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves.” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 NIV)
Recently, I stood on my fifth-floor balcony and watched a gentleman clean my windows, hanging by a rope. When he had finished my windows, he eased the clamp on the rope and safely lowered himself to the next floor.
As I watched, I thought about the fact that the rope saving him from falling to injury and perhaps even death was really just single threads woven together until they became extremely strong.
My mind also went back to a Saturday in 1982. At that time, we were living in a condo on the 32nd floor on the waterfront in Toronto, Canada. From our floor-to-ceiling windows, in front, on a clear night, we could see across Lake Ontario as far as the lights of Rochester, and from our bedroom windows, we could look out over downtown Toronto.
Our younger son called excitedly from his bedroom, “Dad, come see this!”
We felt quite safe in our condo, but as we stared out his bedroom window, we saw a window cleaner on a safety platform that was held up by two strong ropes. The cleaner took one foot off the platform and leaned out, holding on by one hand, so that he could clean another set of windows — to save time!
To this day, I feel sick to my stomach just thinking about it. Realizing how far up we were, we knew that a slight error by either his hand or his foot would undoubtedly have proven to be fatal.
How often we feel that things are proceeding in a difficult way, and we think that we are hanging by a thread.
The strength of others in helping to hold us up is so important, as stated in today’s verses from Ecclesiastes.
But it is so much more important to realize that, even if our figurative rope fails, God has promised to keep us in the palm of His hand.
As I sometimes feel like I am in free fall, it is so reassuring to realize that God is there to care for me. He is available for you, also. While there are many such references in the Bible, here is one of my favourite verses:
“The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.” (Deuteronomy 33:27a NIV)
Prayer: Dear Father, help us to realize that we each have a responsibility to help others to have a strong rope to hang on to You. Most of all, we are grateful that You maintain the strength that never fails. In the name of Jesus, we thank You and pray. Amen.
Toronto, Ontario, Canada