September 24, 2020

The Rope Path

One of my Facebook friends recently posted a short movie of the narrowest hiking path in the world. The photographer started panning from his shoes, which stood upon a 2- x 8-inch board that was attached to something unseen by the viewer. As I looked at his feet, the camera caught the immense distance from the shoes on the board to the floor of the canyon. It looked to be a shear drop-off! Straight down! A rock cliff! Barely visible were dwarfed trees and shrubs that lined what seemed to be a raging river at the bottom.

As the camera moved left, it revealed the hiker’s next step off the plank; the “path” became a rope against the massive granite wall. My mouth dropped open as I watched indigenous men stepping sideways along the rope with their bodies facing the rock, their hands gripping a second rope about chest high.

Anxiously I watched them carefully maneuver around the face of solid stone. With this scene fresh in my mind, the word “path” took on a very different meaning.

I have no idea what that experience is like. Or do I?

Our Path, Our Rope

As I consider my precarious life on the outer crust of this fragile planet that twirls around in space, I begin to think that I might have more in common with those men stepping sideways on their rope “path” than I previously thought.

We live surrounded by danger and risks to our temporal lives as if we, too, were inching our way along a rope anchored to a rock face. Sometimes I wonder why I feel so safe, so comfortable. Am I more like the men clinging to the rope than I’m even aware of? If so, what is my rope? What is yours?

Thus far my journey with God has strengthened my faith in Him. Every trial, burden, or grief becomes another opportunity to practice rope walking, faith walking. When we read stories of Moses, Ruth, Esther, Daniel, and Joseph, aren’t we thrilled by the rich evidence of God’s faithfulness? He guided these Bible heroes on paths that narrowed down to just a rope, just their faith.

When we encounter difficulties and seemingly impassable situations, God’s rope of faith is more dependable than a road 20 feet wide.

Life on the edge, inching step by step with my Savior, keeps my face toward the Rock. Considering my options, I’ll live the radical, apparent risk-filled life that is really more secure than anything the world offers.

In actuality, our life of faith is more about the rope than it is about the potential of falling. Why? Because Christ took the fall, so that we don’t have to. Because the Rope, Jesus Christ, is able to support our feeble hold with greater strength than we can take hold of Him. Because all it takes is our willingness to be held by Him. Because He is the One in whom we place our faith. Because He has a personal connection that safely elicits our trust based on His pure, perfect, sacrificial love.

I claim this promise: “He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake” (Ps. 23:3, NIV).* That’s enough for me to take the next step with Christ as my rope, no matter how narrow the path.

Karen Nicola is a grief counselor/coach. Follow her social media posts at

*Texts credited to NIV are from the Holy Bible, New International Version. Copyright ã 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.