A man was hiking over the beautiful snowy Alps, along the way a violent storm suddenly appeared and the man had no chance to take shelter, he was trapped right in the eye of the storm. The snow storm was so intense that he could not see a thing; he could not even see his hand in front of his face. In desperation he tried to use his mobile phone, and to his amazement he could still get phone reception to make a phone call. He called a close friend, he did not know what his friend could possible do for him, but in hope he called anyway.
His friend, reading one of his favourite books in front of the open fire and his lovely wife preparing dinner for him, picked up the phone. On the other end of the phone he listened to his friend share his emotions, his fear and confusion, he was walking aimlessly in the worst storm he has ever been caught in, and he had no idea how he would make his way through it.
“Just walk east!” his friend yelled down the phone. “Just walk east! If you just walk east you will easily get out of the storm!”
However, the friend in the storm could not see a thing, only a blur, he was confused, he was already aware that if he walked east he would find shelter from the storm, he wasn’t arguing that. His problem was he had no idea which way east was. He could not see anything! He was completely incapable of doing anything to get himself out of the storm.
He tried to explain this to his friend, but his friend just keep yelling to him ‘just walk east!’ His friend, warm and comfortable at home, could not understand why his friend could not do this one simple thing ‘Just walk east!’
Meanwhile his friend was still stuck in a situation he was incapable of changing. He tried to explain that he was not arguing that walking east is what he should do; his problem was he did not know how to walk east. Which way was east? West? North? South? He was trapped, nothing was in his control, he did not know what to do, and his friends advise, although well-meaning, was only creating more fear in his heart.
“Just walk east! Stop making excuses and just start walking east and you will find shelter from the storm.” His friend yelled again, getting more frustrated. Eventually, his friend hung up the phone and thought to himself: ‘You can’t help someone who won’t help themselves’. Warm and safe in his lovely home, his friend picked his book back up and continued to enjoy his evening.
Meanwhile his friend was left in the storm. He was lonely, fearful, and hopeless. He continued to wonder, and the storm just kept getting worst. He felt so depressed, so misunderstood, so lost. In desperation he decided to try to call another friend, what could his other friend do for him? He did not know, but in hope he called.
As his friend picked up the phone the man began to retell his situation; he cried, he was broken, he was trapped in the storm, he could not do anything, he could not escape or find shelter.
“Remember you are not alone” his friend yelled down the phone. “What ever you do don’t forget you are not alone!”
The man stood in the storm, the tried to understand what his friend was trying to tell him, what did he mean? His friend continued in desperation to remind him that he was not alone. “What do you mean I’m not alone?” his friend cried? “I’m completely alone. I’m in a storm and I have no power to change anything and I’m incapable of finding my way out.”
The whole time he spoke to his friend, never once did his friend try to give him instructions on how he could get out of the storm in his own strength, his friend just keep reminding him he was not alone. Again the man asked his friend “What do you mean I’m not alone?”
“Remember when you started the journey across the mountains” his friend said, “Do you remember when the weather was beautiful and calm?” His friend thought back, yes he remembered! “Do you remember you did not start this journey on your own?” Again his friend thought back, yes he remembered! He remembered that he started the journey with a guide, a seasoned mountain guide. He started the journey with a professional guide who knew every corner of the mountain, who had guided other climbers through storms even worst than the one he was trapped in now.
“Do you remember you’re not alone?” His friend cried down the phone once more. “Yes I remember!” The man said. He remembered he started the journey with a guide. His friend kept encouraging him “Remember that your guide is still with you! He’s still right beside you, he has not left you. Let him take hold of you hand and he will lead you out of the storm.”
The man hung up the phone. He held out his hand and cried out for his guide to lead him to safety. He could not see anything, he could not see his guide, he could only have faith his guide did not leave him when the storm began. As he stood in the storm, completely blind and unable to help himself, he felt the beautiful hand of the one he knew could save him from the storm; it was his guide.
His guide was still with him. When the storm first began, it had taken the man by such surprise and had come upon him so suddenly that, in his fear and confusion, he forgot his guide was still with him.
“I don’t know the way out” the man cried to his guide. He felt the guide embrace him, in the deathly cold of the storm he held him close, it made him feel a deep warmth inside himself, a warmth he almost forgot existed. The guides warm embrace comforted the man, and his heart felt strengthened, even in the storm.
The storm was so heavy the man still could not see the face of his guide, he could not see anything, he only heard the voice of his guide, the one who was capable of doing what we could not do, the only one who could save him.
The man could not see anything, he felt so weak, and in himself there was no strength left. He could only rely upon his guide and believe in his weakness, his guide would be his strength. As the storm continued to rage all around them, the man heard the guide whisper into his ear:
“You don’t need to know the way out, you only need to trust me, I can lead you to safety”
In that moment the man felt peace in his heart. Yes he was still in the very same storm, but he knew he would make it through the storm, because even in his weakness, his guide was strong enough to carry him through to safety.
Why is it when our friends face an emotional storm in their life we always want to instruct them on how they can fix the problem themselves?
“Just let it go!”
Seems like such simple advice to give someone who is heart-broken from a relationship breakdown.
“Why don’t you just let it go, and move on with your life?”
Sometime we spend all our time trying to instruct our heartbroken and depressed friends on how they must lead themselves out of heartbreak and disappointment, and with our best intentions we only cause them to feel more broken. In contrast, the greatest help we can be as a friend is to remind them that within their heartbreak, within their sadness, within their inability to change their feeling and their situation, Jesus is still with them, still loves them, is still embracing them, and is still the one who will save them and heal their heart.
Within the heartbroken sadness they are suffering in, a true friend reminds them that their guide is still with them. Their guide has never left them, and they don’t need to worry about finding their own way out of their emotional crisis, they need only to trust that Jesus is with them. Always remember Jesus. It is Jesus who desires to strengthen our hearts through the storm. It is Jesus, and not ourselves who leads us; not through our strength, but through his grace given freely to us in our time of need.
Jesus is our savior for our whole life, in this life and the eternal life. When we are unable to save ourselves in any situation, and our friends and family can not possible understand the emotional crisis we are facing in our life, Christ understands.
People will always try to instruct us on how to save ourselves, Christ however, shows us his desire is to save us and lead us in his strength.
He is our guide, he is our strength, He is always with us, and he will be faithful to lead us to safety.
I pray that I’m always a friend that reminds you that your guide is still with you, and he will lead you through the storm, He loves you, He is with you, when nobody understands, the Lord understands.
“Do you remember you’re not alone?” His friend cried down the phone once more. “Yes I remember!” The man said, he remembered he started the journey with a guide! His friend keep encouraging him “Remember that your guide is still with you! He’s still right beside you, he has not left you! Let him take hold of you hand and he will lead you out of the storm!”