March 5, 2013

Afraid of falling?

About ten years ago during a few months, stairs terrified me. For some reason, I became fearful of falling. Once I stepped from the fourth step from the bottom into air and crashed. Then I recognized that I was trying to take longer steps than necessary. How strange. After a few weeks of being deliberate with each step, the problem was resolved. However, I am still careful on stairs (icy walkways too).

Today, Spurgeon points out that God’s compassion on His children includes picking us up when we fall.

As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him. (Psalm 103:13)

Falling could refer to a spiritual misstep, but also can be about physical plunges. When Jesus was tempted by the devil, one temptation included a suggestion that covered both risks.

Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, ‘He will command his angels concerning you,’ and ‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.’” (Matthew 4:5–6)

Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’” (Matthew 4:7) From this I learn that the promises to guard or rescue me from falling are for those times it just happens, not when I deliberately choose to do something foolish. Several of these promises are in the Psalms.

 Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God. They collapse and fall, but we rise and stand upright. (Psalm 20:7–8)

Those who trust their own might or the might of others eventually collapse and fall. Only the Lord God is able to stand against anything, including time and diminished capacities. His strength endures forever.

The steps of a man are established by the Lord, when he delights in his way; though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the Lord upholds his hand. (Psalm 37:23–24)

I was pushed hard, so that I was falling, but the Lord helped me. (Psalm 118:13)

The Lord upholds all who are falling and raises up all who are bowed down. (Psalm 145:14)

He fulfills the desire of those who fear him; he also hears their cry and saves them. (Psalm 145:19)

God guides my steps and delights in taking me where He wants me to go. That way might include a crash or two, but when I go down and cry out to Him, I discover that He is with me and holding my hand. Without the experience of a fall, I would not know what it is to be rescued and raised up by the Fatherly care of God. I could not testify to His amazing grace and tender-hearted concern for everything from the tiniest slip to the most colossal crash. For this, I am grateful!

I must perform my vows to you, O God; I will render thank offerings to you. For you have delivered my soul from death, yes, my feet from falling, that I may walk before God in the light of life. (Psalm 56:12–13)

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