Living at Ropes End

We’ve all been at Ropes End at various points in our lives.  Sometimes Ropes End simply describes a day where small inconveniences piled up into large mountains of frustration.  Other times Ropes End is where we literally come to the end of all we can do and frightening “what if” scenarios fill our weary minds as the struggle to hold on or just let go rages.  

What if Ropes End was really a place of new beginnings, growth, goodness and blessing? What if the rope you are holding onto is actually holding you back, tying you to things that are preventing you from experiencing all that God has for you?  Ropes End is a place of decision.  Will you trust in your strength, ability, intelligence and talent or depend on God.

You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.” (Matthew 5:3 The Message)

I’ll be the first to admit that when at Ropes End, I can be found hanging onto a thin rope by a sliver of a fingernail depending on myself and doing everything in my power to figure things out.  My frenzied mind is filled with noise, and while I hear God’s invitation to let go and trust, invite him into the storm and depend on Him, the fear of the unknown keeps me clinging to a rope that holds me back.

The disciples found themselves at Ropes End in the middle of a sea during a violent storm.  They had made a decision to follow Jesus and seen him do amazing things.  However, in their view here they were struggling with all they had to keep the boat afloat and stay alive and Jesus was napping. It wasn’t until they had run out of options that in terror they woke Jesus saying, “Don’t you care if we drown?”

The disciples were focused on their ability to get themselves across the lake safely, and didn’t even seem to consider that Jesus may have another way. They forgot how Jesus had been there in the past because all their attention was focused on the raging storm.   In their wildest imaginations, none of them could have predicted that with a word, Jesus would calm the storm.  

Have you ever felt like Jesus was napping while you were struggling?  When you came to the end of all the options you could think of, did you feel abandoned, alone and hopeless?  Difficulties and pain come in all shapes and sizes, and Jesus wants to be invited into them all.  Ropes End is actually a place where we are invited to trust God at deeper levels, and choose to use the minds, strength and talents we have while depending on Him for the outcome.  It is laying aside plans, dreams and agendas and being still and listening for direction from the One who is always for you, and will never leave or forsake you. 

When I found myself in the middle of a violent storm, the situation hopeless and beyond painful, it felt like my cries and pleas for help were ignored.  The fight to stay alive was so exhausting there were times I just wanted to give up and drown.

It was there, at Ropes End that I experienced God’s love in profound ways.  The invitation was to stop fighting and trust.  I imagined myself as a small child, with a heart of complete dependence and trust choosing to lie down next to Jesus in the bottom of that boat and rest while the storm raged knowing I was completely safe in His care.  I wish I knew how to describe this sense of peace in the midst of chaos and pain. There are no words, only the indescribable feeling of being perfectly loved.  The limits I had placed on things, and as a result had placed on God lived only in my imagination.  God is not limited by anything. 

 God blesses those people who depend only on him. They belong to the kingdom of heaven!  Matthew 5:3 (Contemporary English Version)

Take a moment and think back to times you have been at Ropes End.  Do you have a clearer picture of how the agenda, plans and dreams you were pursuing were blinding you to other directions, opportunities, relationships and experiences?  Did the walls of the box you put the situation and God in stifle your faith?  Did you grow and experience His care and love in ways you couldn’t have outside of the hardships faced? 

Letting go of the rope of dependence upon self is not easy.  It doesn’t mean that suddenly life will be amazing and all your dreams will come true.  It is not an invitation to sit and do nothing.  The invitation is to experience God with you and learn to depend on him in all things.  It is submitting your agenda to His agenda.  It is allowing yourself to be loved and grow in faith and trust.  Coming to the end of your rope is often the place where new life begins.

Forget the former things;
    do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
    Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
    and streams in the wasteland. – Isaiah 43:18-19

Ropes End presents a choice to either continue depending on you, or learn to depend on God.  What will you choose? 

You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.” (Matthew 5:3 The Message)


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