No Second Options

August 20, 2017

A man who was walking close to a steep cliff lost his footing and plunged over the side. As he was falling he grabbed the branch of a tree that was sticking out about half-way down the cliff. He managed to hang onto a weak limb with both hands. He looked up and he saw that the cliff was almost perfectly straight and that he was a long way from the top. He looked down and it was a long, long way down to the rocky bottom.

At this point the man decided that it was time to pray. He didn’t pray a long, wordy prayer. He simply yelled out, "God, if you’re there, help me!" About that time, he heard a deep voice coming from high up above that said, "I’m here My son, have no fear." The man was a little startled at first by God’s voice, but he pleaded, "Can You help me? Can You help me?"

God replied, "Yes, I can My son, but you have to have Faith. Do you trust Me?" The man answered, "Yes Lord, I trust You." God said, "Do you really trust Me?" The man, straining to hold on replied, "Yes Lord, I really trust You." Then God said, "This is what I want you to do: let go of the limb, trust Me, and everything will be all right."

The man looked down at the rocks below, then he looked up at the steep cliff above him and yelled, "Is there anybody else up there who can help me?"

When we pray, we must accept that we do not have the power to accomplish what we need, that we must rely on God alone to do what we cannot do.  In our mind and heart, we must believe in God as the only person who will answer our prayer. 

If, like the man in the story, we seek a second option or person to grant our request, God is no longer our God and faith is no longer faith.  Faith means to trust in God alone! When we pray to our God, we need to say, “You alone are the person who can do something for me!”  The first of the Ten Commandments is that God must be our only God and all our love and attention must be on Him alone!

The Canaanite woman in today’s Gospel shows us the power of faith in prayer! Jesus seems to reject her and harshly refer to her and her daughter as dogs, yet she doesn’t go away because where else can she go??  Her faith tells her that he is the only one who can grant her request! Her persistence in prayer moves Jesus to heal her daughter, telling her, “O woman, great is your faith!”




Kathryn Richards