Jerry D. White
There is a pit, both deep and wide
With ledges carved along its sides.
And many ropes are thrown therein
And many souls there grope in sin
Because their sins they hide.
Deep I fell into the pit
Upon my ledge did many sit
And from above, a cable hung
Of rusty wire and barbs that stung
The hands and feet of those that climbed
With humble hearts and faith sublime
Toward the sky bright lit.
Not far above but out of reach
The rope was smooth and soft
By holding tightly the humble ones
Were carefully pulled aloft.
Then down again was thrown the rope
Each time I watched and prayed and hoped
Somehow it might be long enough
To grasp the smooth and skip the rough
Each time it stopped just as before
And there I sat upon the floor
Beside the ragged rope
Long I sat upon the shelf
And found no strength within myself
Yet by my side the jagged line
Whispered to my tortured mind
“Your problem is that you desire
the praise of men, and you’re a liar.
For by deceit has it been gained
And you are not the man you claim.”
I grew to hate the wire.
I tried to hide, but found no rest
“Confess, confess, confess, confess!”
The rope called loud and long and clear
The words fell hard upon my ear
For though it hurt my pride I knew
That all the words it spoke were true
And yet I did resist.
And then, when I could bear no more
On hands and knees across the floor.
To the line I crawled and knelt
And deep within my soul I felt
That I must now escape or die.
I could not bear to live the lie.
I grasped the cable sore.
From many cuts my blood did flow
And I was tempted to let go
But far above, a voice I heard-
A gentle sound a loving word
“Fear not, the cable’s strong enough
The smooth comes soon, but first the rough.
That you must bear, for long ago
A law decreed it must be so.”
With all my strength I held on tight
And pulled myself toward the light.
Soon the rope became quite smooth
My bleeding arms and hands it soothed
My pride was healed and better yet
A lesson I had learned
That self respect is sweeter far
Than praise of men not earned.
As I drew closer toward the light
Or it drew nigh to me.
A veil was taken from my eyes
And Ah! At last I see-
One lone man strong and true
Knelt upon the rim.
My pride was shattered through and through
My heart went out to Him
For from His hands His red blood flowed.
His arms were scratched and scored
Yet true to all those down below
He held the rope so sore.
For the ropes where by He held
Were strewn with rusty barbs
And looking closer I beheld
His pain was worse by far
Than any pain that I had felt
While hanging on the rope.
And looking downward I beheld
Those soul who’s only hope
Was this one Man, and yet they sat
Upon the cold, grey stone
Because of pride, they could not grasp
The rope that led to home.
And so I’ve come to love the line
It’s helped me understand
The pain and suffering that is borne
by that one faithful man.
Though you may doubt, yet it is true
That if you would be able
To know the man who holds the line
You must also love the cable.