The small girl looks across a space to see another humongous pile of hay at the other end of the barn. In her hand she is tightly grasping a rope that is linked to a pulley high above her head. The pulley is on a metal track that runs the whole length of the barn, from one end of it to the other. She and two or three other children confer on the best way to hold the rope (It’s a little difficult to see them, for the barn’s light filters in through some of the few windows plus an area high at one end of the barn.) But the voices ring clearly, through the streaks of sunshine filled with dust motes that fall in a varied pattern on the hay.
“Be careful.” “Hang onto the rope tight!” “Keep your eyes open so you’ll know when to let go before you hit the wall at the other end.” “Don’t jump too soon. You want to be sure and land in the hay over there.” “Swing hard as you take off so the pulley will go clear to the other end. You don’t want to let go where there is only a little hay below you!”
The excitement is building as the girl hesitates – then she takes a deep breath, clasps the rope tightly, tries to move through the loosely piled hay, then jumps!
Swinging on the rope that is stretched tight from her weight and that follows the pulley high above her, she whizzes through the air (what a strange and delightful feeling!) sees the other pile of hay coming into her line of vision below, and lets go of the rope to fall, tumbling into the fresh sweet-smelling hay below her; well before she hits that other wall.
She scrambles to the top of the pile of hay, smiling and proud, as the other children erupt in yells of victory. She did it!!!! What fun! Then awaits her turn to repeat the journey of swinging back to the other pile of hay. She learned she can trust that rope and pulley – and is ready for more.
I was that small girl, along with my brother and some children from the neighboring farms. This was a game we played every year after the hay was brought in from the fields, and put into the barn. (Which is why that rope and pulley were there in the first place.) We would play it occasionally on Saturdays until it got too cold or until the level of the hay lowered too much from feeding the cattle, and the jump became too dangerous and our parents said: “No more!” We were almost relieved that they put up the barriers to our playing “the game”, for we’d begun to feel the hard thumps of falling into less hay.
Were we foolish for playing that game in the hay?
We’d watched that rope and pulley being used to lift heavy burdens of hay out of the horse drawn wagons – and later years tractor pulled wagons – then observed it pulled up into the barn and dropped into the haylofts. We understood (without understanding fully) the mechanics of the rope and pulley and the metal track it rolled on. We could trust it. And if we followed the rules, we were okay. Disobey those rules, and we’d be hurt.
Is this somewhat like our walk with Christ our Lord? We’ve read His promises in the the Bible.. We watch others walking and trusting Him, and how God uses them. We decid we’ll take the risk of trusting Him, and discover that it is a strange and delightful feeling to step out into the unknown with Him.
To obey Him takes TRUST.
He tells us to forgive (when we don’t want to) and we have to trust Him enough to obey.
We discover the freedom of stepping out from under the bondage of unforgiveness. This startles us as it liberates us, and we gain more courage to trust Him. We learn more about love . . .
He also places limits, giving us boundaries to not cross: to protect us from hurting ourselves or others. We learn through experience that His boundaries are valid.
We’ve all learned that even those we love fail us. But WE CAN ALWAYS TRUST HIM
Sometimes we misjudge and hit a barn wall and get bruised, or jump and land in shallow hay.
Or we are surprised and hurt by attacks against us; betrayal, lies.
But we have a Hand to hold that is stronger than a rope, and God tells us:
If the Lord delights in a man’s way,
He makes his steps firm;
though he stumble, he will not fall
Psalms 37:23 NIV
for the Lord upholds him with His hand.
It is incredible to me how we are loved in this “hayloft” that we call life!
The mystery of the Trinity: God (our Father), Jesus Christ (our Lord), and His Holy Spirit (our Counselor and Teacher), is Who picks us up each time, dusts us off, puts us on our feet again, then holds our right hands,
swinging us across empty spaces,
watching over us as He walks with us,
rejoicing with us over our victories,
holding us when we weep.
9 I took you from the ends of the earth,
From its farthest corners I called you.
I said, ‘You are my servant’;
I have chosen you and have not rejected you.
10 So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Isa 41:9-10 NIV
I have found Someone in whom I can trust – always.
I want you to know Him also!
Who or what is the rope you hang onto in your life?
Do you know?