24th November 2010

It’s Okay When You Fall…

“Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall.”
Psalm 55:22 (NIV)

I looked at the photograph with consternation—an artificial climbing wall with footholds, looming tall and forbidding. My ten-year-old granddaughter was animatedly describing the successful climb she had undertaken. The wall was located at a campsite where she had recently spent the weekend with friends. She finally caught her breath and recognised my fears for her safety. “Oh Nana,” she said reassuringly, “It’s okay if you fall!” I looked at her in amazement, “How do you work that out, Sophie?” I asked. “Well.” she replied, “The ground is soft and there is always someone there to catch you.”

Her words stayed with me…this was a lesson for me to ponder on. Sophie had absolute confidence that if she were to fall it would be fine, because there would be someone there to catch her and give her reassurance. The ground that she would fall on would be softened. In the abseiling world the climbers refer to ‘anchors’. According to the methodology of abseiling as given in Wikipedia, ‘Anchors for rappelling (to rope down) are sometimes made with trees or boulders, using webbing and cordellete,’ For someone who has vertigo in an extra pair of socks it still sounds frightening to me!

Is not that, however, what God does for us? He is our anchor. He supports and guides us, but when we go it alone and fall, he provides us with a soft landing. When he feels we need it, he may allow us to become bruised to teach us vital lessons. The crucial fact is: He is always there. Jesus Christ has unequivocally promised this. He did not die in order to fail us, he died for us that we might live. John 3:16 tells us, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”  God knows our human frailty. He knows that, try as hard as we can to become perfect like our Saviour, we will fall down in our spiritual life. King David knew what it was to fall down spiritually, nonetheless he wrote in Psalm 72:13, “He will take pity on the weak and the needy and save the needy from death.” David was full of regret for what he had done but knew he would be forgiven—and loved still.

Is this forgiveness some kind of licence to carry on sinning? Quite the contrary, returning back to the analogy of falling off the climbing wall—how many times do you need to land on your head before you realise it is not a good idea to proceed in that manner? Everything and everybody hurts when you proceed without God. Would you climb a rock-face without footholds? Don’t do it spiritually either!

Jesus is always there for us waiting with open arms to catch us and to wipe us down from the morass of our sins. Some of his last words were the most re-assuring: “…surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Mathew 28:20).

With the help of dedicated staff at the Camp and much effort on her part, Sophie reached the top and was exuberant. At the end of the climb of life we may have a few bruises, but we will have conquered the summit of trials and tests with and by the power of a loving and merciful God who has been with us all the way. We need no other assurance.

Thank you Father, for your loving arms to catch us and your amazing heart to forgive us when we fall. Thank you for sharing our climb and giving us the strength to carry on when the going gets tough.

Study by Irene Wilson 

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