I get up. I walk. I fall down. Meanwhile, I keep dancing. Hillel
I was pushed back and about to fall but the Lord helped me. Psalm 118:13
“To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy.” Jude 24 Every morning before stepping into the shower I recite this verse out loud and then ask the Lord to do just that, “keep me from falling” – physically, spiritually, and in any other way I might fall during the day.
I typically practice precious few repetitive spiritual rituals. For my money, they can all too easily become mindless or magical, neither of which interests me or helps me in my friendship with Jesus. Plus, I don’t think God thinks much of it. But this one habit sort of snuck in and became a regular part of my morning regimen. It began after I had surgery and was fanatically wary of falling and undoing Dr. Ames’ titanium artistry in my neck. My recovery was ghastly and tedious all the while donning a stiff brace to keep everything in place until I could hold my head up on my own. To make things even less convenient, they told me to keep the six-inch wound down the back of my neck clean and dry. This required a wearisome pre-shower routine of wrapping the area with a waterproof covering. It was a daily hassle for months, and the last thing I wanted to do was to fall and start all over again.
I don’t want to slip in the shower or stumble on the sidewalk and crack any of my brittle bones, so I pray for sure-footedness everyday. But I’m even more adamant about avoiding a fall into disobedient behavior and damaging my soul and my integrity. I’m as aware of my spiritual vulnerability as I am of my physical frailty.
There was a time when I was such a regular guest at the Hotel for the Sick (aka – the hospital) that they offered me coupons for a free night every ten visits. I knew everybody including the night janitors by their first names. During one such hospitalization I was particularly feeble. In medical terms, chemo had eliminated most of the stuff in the blood that keeps you from tipping over. So, in addition to the usual “Barney Wiget 11/11/54” band on my right wrist, they provided me with a bright yellow plastic bracelet for my left arm that said in bold letters, “FALL RISK.” It means – again in technical jargon – “Watch this guy, because he’s wobbly and can’t be trusted on his feet. He could fall at any time and crack his noggin. If he does, please scoop him up and deliver him, preferably by wheelchair, to Room 503.”
It wasn’t the first time I’ve been labeled a, “Fall Risk.” We’re all “Fall Risks” in our walk with Jesus. We’re all at risk for tripping on temptation, for slipping on sin, for faltering over stumbling blocks placed in our way by those who would love to see us hurt ourselves. If you don’t think you are at risk for falling, maybe you’ve fallen already and didn’t know it.
I wonder if this will catch on as the new Christian bracelet – replacing “W.W.J.D.” (What would Jesus do?) with, “FALL RISK!” Probably not.
“So if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall.” 1 Corinthians 10:12