The Good News: A cord of three strands for the tough stuff
Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
Linwood Fiedler is a veteran competitor in what has been called “the last great race on earth,” the 1,000 mile Iditarod across Alaska. Teams composed of a musher, a 450 lb. supplies-laden sled, and 14 Alaskan Husky dogs in harness compete to cross the finish line first. Remarkably, teams typically cover 120 miles per day in some of the harshest conditions on the planet.
But to listen to Fiedler is to understand that no one makes it without help, not only from those at the multiple checkpoints (every 90 miles), but from fellow racers who are always alert to the condition and safety of his/her competitors. In one race, a musher accidentally buried a hatchet in his own thigh, and bleeding to death on the trail. Other mushers turned aside, marshaling their resources to bandage the wound, summon help via satellite telephones, and use their dog team to transport a wounded companion to rescue, safety, and recovery.
Scripture vividly insists this very dynamic is available to all of us in Christ who face the “tough stuff” in the harsh race of life. Strength comes from “a cord of three strands.” One key strand is the Lord Himself, who knows from experience our tough stuff, ready to strengthen us through it. The second strand is fellow believers, through whom the Spirit endows us with grace, support, and strength.
Intertwined with the Lord and with others, our “cord” will not be easily nor quickly broken. Wrapped together, we can finish our faith-race well, even as a cloud of witnesses applauds (cf. Hebrews 12:1-2).