One day a man traveled through the woods and fell into a deep hole. The hole had been disguised so that it could not be readily detected and the man fell in unawares of the danger he faced. The man tried to get out of the hole, but it was deep enough and wide enough that it was impossible to do so.
Sensing the desperate condition he was in, the man began to yell loudly for help. Fortunately, he was heard and someone came to rescue him. A ladder was lowered into the hole and the man was able to climb to safety. The man tried to pay his rescuer for his trouble, but discovered he could not because he had no means to pay. The rescuer declined payment and the man went on his way.
This parable, familiar to many of my readers, is much like our relationship with the Savior, Jesus Christ. Each of us has fallen into a hole of sin and death. Although we try everything we can to get free of our condition, without Jesus’ help there is nothing we can do. We must call upon him for rescue, which is freely provided.
The ladder in the parable represents the things that we must do to be rescued. We must be willing to get on the ladder and climb upward. Jesus encourages us every step of the way. Although we may stumble and fall, rescue is certain if we will keep going. One thing is sure: once we are out of the hole, we did not rescue ourselves. Jesus has rescued us.
I have noticed that there are those who refuse to get on the ladder. Some of them say that they like it in the hole. Others are afraid to climb the ladder. Still others deliberately jump into the hole and refuse to leave, even though there is a way open for them to do so. Others deny the existence of the hole, even though they are in it. Some rationalize that the Rescuer does not exist, even though they have heard his voice and can see the ladder in front of them. Worst of all, some refuse to get on the ladder because they do not like the Rescuer, thinking that his ladder is too difficult or unfair. Whatever the reason, remaining in the hole means certain death for those who refuse to leave.
As for me, I am grateful for the Rescuer. I have felt his loving kindness and gentle influence many times in my life. Although I am still climbing the ladder, I know that the means of rescue he has provided is true and sure, so I keep going. Someday I will climb completely out of the hole and be able to embrace Him who has done so much for me.
May the grace of our Lord sustain us as we move forward.