The Allegory of the Cliff

Two people are mountain-climbing…

The only thing standing between these two people and falling to their death is the nylon rope they grip in their hands as they maneuver their way up. It is gym class to the extreme. Rocks are falling around them, and they can see the top of the cliff as they climb. It is so close. Above the cliff is a beautiful, blue sky. But, there is no promise of anything once they reach the cliff. 

Below the climbers, however, is certain death. A ravine, several hundred feet down, rushes through. The water is a powerful force. Sticking out of the ravine are cruel, jagged rocks. There is no question, a fall from this height will kill the climbers. 

As they climb, and the top of the cliff is only ten feet away, both of their ropes begin to snap. Slowly, the rope is coming unraveled. The faster they try to climb, the faster it snaps. They are stuck, with no way out. 

Suddenly, a man appears over the edge of the cliff. “Do you need help?” Both of the climbers look over at each other. Neither of them know anything about this man. They don’t know what waits for them at the top, and it’s clear that both of them are weary to trust the man. In The Princess Bride, a similar scenario occurred where the man at the top only wanted to kill the climber. “If you keep climbing, those ropes will break.” His warning echoes as he speaks into the chasm. 

Finally, one of the climbers calls up to him, saying, “Can you help us?” The man disappears for a moment, and when he reappears he slowly inches himself over the cliff between the two climbers. Two heads appear over the edge, and the climbers observe that he is being held over the cliff by two other people.

The man reaches his arms down, as far as they will go. There is about a foot between the man’s hands, and the climbers. The first climber digs their feet into the rocks, and launches upward, dropping the rope and grabbing the man’s hand. His rope snaps, and drops below. 

The man reaches out his hand for the other climber, whose eyes have grown wide. Rather than trusting the man, this climber continues to shimmy his way up the rope. “I can do it myself,” the climber mutters as they goes. But, before the climber can make it a foot higher, the rope snaps and the climber falls into the ravine. 

The man’s friends slowly pull him up to the top of the cliff, and the surviving climber makes it. At the top, he sees paradise. 

This is faith. Jesus can reach out to us, and reach down to us, but it’s our job to reach back up to Him. He can’t force us to let go of doubt; we must choose to put our faith in Him. If we don’t choose Him, that is our choice. But, if we don’t know that He is there, we can’t choose Him. This is why encouragement and evangelism are important; God calls us to rescue those who cling to their doubt. Remember, there was a time when you and I clung to our doubt before we were saved. 

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