“By yourself you’re unprotected. With a friend you can face the worst. Can you round up a third? A three-strand rope isn’t easily snapped.” Ecclesiastes 4:12 The Message Bible
At church the other day, a sister in the Lord remarked that she hadn’t seen me lately. I told her, yes; a lot had been going on—company, husband out of town, our dog dying, and extra stuff. In other words—life happened.
Then, out of my mouth popped, “I fell in a ditch.” Huh? What I think I heard the sister say in reply was, “And you stayed there?” Now that’s a profound observation.
Dastardly ditches; the outlook is always the same—despair, lack of hope, with a delicious side of self-pity. I’ve realized, the question isn’t always how to avoid the ditch, but rather, what am I going to do once I’m there? Ditches eventually show up in all of our lives.
Have I conquered “ditch living” and how to escape the mire? I sincerely doubt it, but one question to ask is, why am I here? Is there unconfessed sin in my life? Unforgiveness? Is it a scheme of the enemy?
The enemy of our souls loves to isolate us; he can then carry on his incessant lying unchecked. Some of us tend to internalize and try to go it alone. We think, no one understands, and who wants to hear all this bellyaching blabber anyway?
Well, Jesus for one! We know this in our “knower.” Sometimes we can barely remember our name, let alone that Jesus is in the abyss too. Like the disciples of Jesus’ day on the storm-tossed sea, we cry, “Master, do You not care that we are perishing?” (Mark 4:38), as if Jesus is asleep on a fluffy, little pillow (my paraphrase!), and it truly might not feel like He cares. It’s a teachable moment, when Jesus asks, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” Ouch.
Reading and applying the Word of God is the answer, of course, yet there have been times I couldn’t even pick it up. Quoting Scripture is an excellent plan, but there have been intense times of warfare in my life where I couldn’t even put two words together in my head. Yes, a deep gorge is going to take “backup.”
Remember that game show where one of the options was, “PHONE A FRIEND”? Well, if you’re in the ditch, NOW is the time to use that option. And if the ditch is so deep we’re starting to see China on the other side, call for a third backup. Like Ecclesiastes says, “A three-strand rope isn’t easily snapped”—it just may be what’s needed to haul us up and out.
“Dear Jesus, these are desperate times for many. How I thank You for the body of Christ whom You have gifted to see, to encourage, to help pull us out of darkness. Help us when we are weak to remember 2 Corinthians 10:4: ‘For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.’ Amen!