Faith isn’t faith as long as it’s holding onto a branch. One day on a hiking trip, a man fell off the edge of a cliff and began the 800-foot drop to the bottom. He thought it was all over for him until he grabbed a tree branch which stopped his fall. Hanging on for dear life, he cried out for help, “Is anyone up there?”

There was no response. The seconds turned into minutes. The branch was sagging beneath the hiker’s weight. The tree’s roots would only take so much more strain before they gave way. When it seemed the poor hiker couldn’t hold on any longer, he heard a voice: “I am God. Do you trust Me?”

“Yes, Lord. I trust You. Can You help me, please?”

God answered, “Yes, I will help you. Just let go of the branch.”

The hiker was silent for a moment. Then he shouted back, “Is anyone else up there?”

There is perhaps nothing more difficult than releasing our grip on a “branch” we have been trusting for life, stability, and the provision of our needs. The hardest part is not knowing how the landing will turn out. This is what happens when we practice faith, only we are leaving the outcome of our situation in God’s hands. We’re used to holding onto our relationships, jobs, homes, families, friends, bank accounts, retirement savings, and even our plans for the future. But God can’t help us until we are willing to let go of these things and completely trust Him. He knows that when we are trusting Him, we are in a place of safety. Our branches may fail us, but His hand will never let us go.

Each of us is clinging to a branch of one kind or another. Your branch might be your job, a relationship with a friend, the stock market, your health, or your home. Today God is asking you to let it go and trust Him. You might not see how the landing will turn out, but God can. He has promised to keep you safe.

Devotional by Dr. James A. Scudder