A man was once rock climbing without a rope or aids by himself in a highly elevated area. The rocks were smooth and the cliff was straight up and down. The man liked risks and, when the area became covered in thick fog, he still took the chance and began to descend.
As the man descended, the fog got thicker until, eventually, the man couldn’t even see the rock in front of him. For minutes the man tried to think of a way to get back up. He had descended well over 1,000 feet and there was no way he could make it all the way up without seeing decent footholds.
Finally, after a few minutes, the man became so terrified that he decided that clinging onto the rock face until morning came was his only hope.
The night grew colder but the man didn’t move. The fog grew thicker and had no intention of letting go. All through the night the man kept talking himself out of letting go or trying to maneuver down and hoping the bottom was near. Many times he was sure that he heard a voice tell him to let go. He didn’t listen; instead he clung harder to the rocks.
When the morning sun rose and burned off the fog, the man was exposed to the warmth of the sun. Within an hour the man’s frozen, but thawing body, slipped from the rock and landed on the ground . . . three feet below where he had spent the night. The dead body of the man who had waited all night was discovered shortly later that day.
If that man had a little faith he would have been able to stretch out his legs and touch the ground . . . instead he perished.
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.