There’s this guy walking down the street who suddenly falls into a deep hole he did not see coming. It’s dark in the hole and the walls are steep.
A psychiatrist happens by and the guy calls out, “Hey, Doc, can you help me out here?” The doctor writes a prescription for Prozac and throws it down the hole.
A priest comes by and the guy calls out, “Hey, Father, can you help me out here?” The priest writes out a prayer and tosses it down the hole.
Then the guy’s best friend comes by, sees his friend down in the hole, and immediately jumps in. “What did you do that for?” the guy says. “Now we’re both stuck!”
“Nah,” the friend says, “I’ve been down here before and I know the way out.”
::– –::– –::
I love the way this story (retold here by Scott Hoezee) describes my life. Sometimes things feel very dark, like I’m in a deep hole. I’ve felt this way when someone has died, when I’ve been stressed out, when the future looks uncertain. And that says nothing about the darkness in my life caused by sin – my own stupid mistakes as well as all the brokenness in the world that impacts my life. Sometimes it feels like I’m stuck in a dark hole.
Even more, I love the way this story expresses the power in relationships. Things are never quite so sad, so strained, or so scary when there’s someone with me. And when things are going well for me, this story reminds me to be the friend for someone else who feels stuck somewhere. My love and care may very well help this person make his or her way back into the light.
Mostly though I love this story because it reminds me of how Jesus is the best Friend who has come down to where I’m stuck. No matter what dark hole I find myself in, he knows what I’m experiencing and offers me a peace that passes understanding. More than that, he’s strong enough to fight the power of sin in my life. In fact, he’s been in the darkest, scariest hole ever: the grave. And he even knows the way out of there!
Much of the time I feel like I need to figure out a way to get up to God. Like I need to get his attention or impress him before he’ll notice me. The fact is God came down to me in the person of his Son, Jesus. And now his Holy Spirit moves in my life, often long before I even realize it.
Jesus is the light of the world and of my life, bringing hope to the dark places. His is the light that shows the way and illuminates God’s love for me even when my love for him is shaky and unimpressive. And he is the friend who takes away my loneliness, forgives my sin, and even promises me eternal life.
You can’t find a better friend that that.