No matter how skilled you are, or how much experience you have, or how simple a task may be, you will at some time in your work, trip up and fall. The Greeks had a word for anyone who thought that would not happen to them – hubris – the pride which precedes a fall. The rest of us, however, know what it is to trip up, for we have done it many times. A few have little experience of it, but are aware enough to know that they will trip up in the future. Such trips are identifiable incidents. They happen sometimes quite suddenly and may take only a moment to occur: a slip of the tongue, a lapse of memory, a wrong piece of advice, a loss of temper. Sometimes the mistake has been brewing for a while and boils over in the moment when you and everyone else realises the nature of the error. The possibilities are almost endless and you will know the pitfalls of your own situation.
The nature of the experience, however, is not determined solely by your quick footwork. There are times when you can feel yourself falling and sense you are in real trouble.
Take your mind out of work for a moment and picture a parent walking along a pavement, holding the hand of a young child. In an instant, the child trips and is about to hit the ground. The parent strengthens the grip on the child’s hand and instantly reacts to stabilise the walk of the child. A brief pause and they move on. This mini drama is seen with countless actors – husband and wife, young relative and older person, able-bodied individual alongside the injured or disabled. One holds the other. “The Lord,” says David “upholds all those who fall.” (Psalm 145 v14) The nature of the experience is related to who is walking by your side.
Whereas falling is a rather instantaneous experience, there is a longer-term draining discouragement which afflicts the souls of some. Borne out of disappointment, struggle, apparent failure or soured relationships, you can see it in the face of the employee who is not appreciated or the individual who keeps losing. The dreamer whose dreams are unlikely to be fulfilled or the bullied, the harassed or the over-worked. There is an air of weariness and a cast-down look about such people. The Lord, according to David’s next breath, “lifts up all those who are bowed down”. How, you may ask, does the Lord do this? I would suggest in a variety of creative, sometimes unexpected ways. One picture worth remembering, however, is a Samaritan businessman who is walking beside another man on his donkey. He has lifted him up and is upholding him as they make their way to the Jericho Arms.
If you are falling, or bowed down, the Lord will uphold you and lift you up. If you are strong, “go and do likewise”.
Psalm 145: 14
14The LORD upholds all those who fall and lifts up all those who are bowed down.
Luke 10: 34
34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and water. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him.
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