I have high respect for brave men and women who climb rugged mountain peaks. They have to take serious precautions as they scale sheer cliffs. One safety feature is a line that’s always connected to a person below, who is called the “belayer.” If the climber loses his balance or falls, the belayer holds him securely until he can regain his footing and continue his ascent or descent. Thus, “to belay” is to anchor, to hold securely, to keep safe.

Hope Church, near Cincinnati, has an adult fellowship group called “The Belayers.” Its members are committed to giving one another help and support in their daily walk with Christ and promise to uphold one another in prayer. They provide assistance as needed, they encourage one another, and they come alongside in times of spiritual danger. They “hold the ropes” for each other.

I think that the apostle Paul was a belayer for many churches, including the Thessalonian church. The believers there were undergoing persecution and were troubled. He reminded them that they were chosen and still loved by God (2 Thess. 2:13). And he encouraged them to continue trusting the Lord, and prayed for them (vv.15-17).

Whose “rope” is God encouraging you to hold?