Hanging By A Thread

Sunday, July 12, 2020
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Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 – Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. (NIV)

Recently, I stood on my fifth-floor balcony and watched a gentleman clean my windows, hanging by a rope. When he had finished my windows, he eased the clamp on the rope and safely lowered himself to the next floor.

As I watched, I thought about the fact that the rope saving him from falling to injury and perhaps even death was really just single threads woven together until they became extremely strong.

My mind also went back to a Saturday in 1982. At that time, we were living in a condo on the 32nd floor on the waterfront in Toronto, Canada. From our floor-to-ceiling windows, in front, on a clear night, we could see across Lake Ontario as far as the lights of Rochester, and from our bedroom windows, we could look out over downtown Toronto.

Our younger son called excitedly from his bedroom, "Dad, come see this!"

We felt quite safe in our condo, but as we stared out his bedroom window, we saw a window cleaner on a safety platform that was held up by two strong ropes. The cleaner took one foot off the platform and leaned out, holding on by one hand, so that he could clean another set of windows — to save time!

To this day, I feel sick to my stomach just thinking about it. Realizing how far up we were, we knew that a slight error by either his hand or his foot would undoubtedly have proven to be fatal.

How often we feel that things are proceeding in a difficult way, and we think that we are hanging by a thread.

The strength of others in helping to hold us up is so important, as stated in today's verses from Ecclesiastes.

But it is so much more important to realize that, even if our figurative rope fails, God has promised to keep us in the palm of His hand.

As I sometimes feel like I am in free fall, it is so reassuring to realize that God is there to care for me. He is available for you, also. While there are many such references in the Bible, here is one of my favourite verses:

Deuteronomy 33:27a – The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms. (NIV)

Prayer: Dear Father, help us to realize that we each have a responsibility to help others to have a strong rope to hang on to You. Most of all, we are grateful that You maintain the strength that never fails. In the name of Jesus, we thank You and pray. Amen.

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About the author:

Vincent Walter <vwalter@bell.net>
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Wonderful message.

    A good word, Vincent. Keep safe.

    Thanks, Vincent, for this encouragement.

    Thank you, Vincent, – such a timely reminder.

    Thanks for your devotionals – much appreciated.

    What a beautiful devotional!! Thank you so much.

    So true, thank you and may God bless you, Vincent!

    Dear Vincent,
    That’s a big amen brother!

    Love this devotional and its well-told message! Helps me today.

    Thanks, Vince, for reminding me of God’s unfailing grace. God bless.

    I always appreciate your wisdom and expression of your faith. Thank you.

    Thanks for your message Walter. I know that God has given me the strength to get through many difficult times.

    Vincent – I cannot imagine seeing the window washer on the 32-floor hanging on “by a thread”. Thank you for another great devotional Walter. God Bless you.

    Good morning Vincent, I always appreciate the scripture verses you include in your devotional.
    Thanks for contributing.

    Many thanks for your email Devotional. It brought to mind the old hymn, Leading on the Everlasting Arms. I enjoy the updated version from the 1980s, by Twyla Paris.

    Well you are good stuff to live on the 32 Nd floor. One time we stayed on a weekend on floor 25 in downtown Toronto. I heard every siren all night. Never wanted to be so high up.

    Dear Vincent,
    I just want to thank you for your devotionals. They always give me food for thought, and I particularly liked this one about the ropes. I also share a liking for your favorite verse from Deuteronomy. Thank you for sharing your talent as a writer. I hope you will continue to do so.

    Thanks, Vincent, for sharing this devotional with us. Will never forget the view from an apartment overlooking Lake Michigan while my dear departed husband visited with his business colleagues and the wife pointed out the lights across that expanse of water. My goodness that was ages ago! Thanks again for this devotional jog to my memory. Blessings.

    Greetings Vince,
    Thank you for sharing another interesting experience of happenings at your residence. Yes, when we trust in the Lord, we certainly have extra strength to see us through circumstances. Our Lord, truly is the “strong rope” to carry us in all situations.
    Blessings for the great writings you submit.

    Dear Vincent,
    Thank you for sharing your wonderful stories and how they help us to remember that God is always there for us and we should be there for others in this world. During this pandemic, you see many, many people being there for others at this time. People writing devotionals which are encouraging is a great way to be there for many, many people at this time when lots of people are along in their lives. With much appreciation.

    Beautiful, thanks Vince! God bless you!

    Good evening Vincent,
    Once again, I enjoyed your devotional today. I always like hearing about your life experiences and how you tie them to a lesson from the Bible. As a reader of the Presbyterian Devotionals I always receive a Blessing from yours and many others.
    I hope you are keeping well and staying safe and virus free there at your retirement home in Toronto.
    Keeping you in my prayers.

    Good morning Walter,
    Grace to you and peace from God and the Lord Jesus Christ.
    Thank you for your heart-felt story about “Hanging by a Thread” July 12th devotional. When I arrive here at the office, the devotionals is one of the first things I usually read. There’s always something that one can relate to.
    In these days of the Covid-19 pandemic, it often feels as though many people are ‘hanging by a thread’ psychologically. Even the best of Christians can be found filled with fear and anxiety; and forget to turn to prayer for answers. We can interpret ‘hanging by a thread’ to many different circumstances these days. The trust these window cleaners have to have is phenomenal.
    I also had done some rock climbing in my life when I was younger and the 2 things I remember most my mentor telling me are: 1) if you feel scared, don’t climb; and 2) you must trust your equipment – if you don’t trust the equipment, don’t climb.
    I will share your devotional with our congregation.
    Thank you and God bless.

    Thank you, Vincent Walters,
    “We are grateful that You maintain the strength that never fails. In the name of Jesus, we thank You and pray. Amen.”
    THANK YOU FOR REMINDING US THAT GOD IS STRONG– even when we forget that it is so even when we are weak.
    We thank God for his strength and powerful love.
    Please pray that an injustice will be worked out fairly. Thank you.
    Keep writing.

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