Most every person has taken a fall at some point in their lives. We’ve tripped over something, lost our footing, or slipped on a slippery surface. Sometimes we catch ourselves, sometimes someone else catches us, and sometimes we fall. A slip and a fall tend to follow a similar pattern. First, there is that moment of fear when you realize you are slipping. It shocks you because it is so sudden, and you were not expecting it. Second, your body reacts, and you reach out to grab something to try and break your fall. Third, if you can’t reach anything you try to prepare for the impact of the fall. All this takes place in a matter of seconds, so there is not much time to think about the slip and the fall.
But it doesn’t take a physical fall to feel as though our lives are slipping and we are about to fall. Situations arise, often catching us off guard, and suddenly we feel as though the world has been pulled out from under our feet. Life which felt secure and steady now feels uncertain and shifting. At these moments we are often struck by fear at it seems we are about to lose control. Our confidence wavers and we fear that we might not be able to hold it all together. It can be during these moments that we feel helpless and hopeless.
When we read the book of Psalms, we witness the honest faith of individuals who often found themselves in difficult situations. The psalms tell stories of fear, anxiety, hopelessness, and despair. Yet, the psalms also speak about courage, peace, hope, and joy. Indeed, the psalms speak the truthful reality of what it means to live in a broken world where slips and falls occur and where joy and hope can be found. In Psalm 94: 18, the writer confesses:
When I thought, ‘My foot is slipping’,
your steadfast love, O Lord, held me up.
This particular individual felt as though they were about to slip and to fall. Whatever they were facing, it felt as though they were about to be knocked off their feet. Yet, at that moment the psalmist’s faith confessed: “your steadfast love, O Lord, held me up.” The psalmist confesses, that God’s steadfast love sustained him at the moment. God’s love held him up. In gratitude, the psalmists realizes the saving power of God’s love.
Yet there are those times when we do fall and hit the ground. As a people of faith, we know that even with faith, sometimes life knocks us down. Yet, the same God who seeks to keep us from falling also comes to us when we do fall to lift us. In Psalm 145: 14 we read:
The Lord upholds all who are falling,
and raises up all who are bowed down.
God comes to us in our fallen state, assures us of his presence, heals our brokenness, and seeks to help us stand. God is not only with us in the fall, but God is with us when we hit the ground. God knows that we live in a slippery world, that life can trip us up and we can fall. Yet, whether we are walking tall, falling fast, or find ourselves in the dust, God will be with us. Our faith doesn’t promise us that we will never slip and fall. Our faith, however, promises that God will be with us regardless. As God promised to Joshua, God promises to us in Joshua 1:9:
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.