As I have shared my story about tripping in a parking lot and landing face first on the ground (previous blog), I have heard lots of similar stories. As it turns out people trip and fall all the time usually pawning it off to our own clumsiness, our age, or a medical condition. But I think there is much more involved in our trips in life, especially if we fall as a result! We can learn “God” principles anytime we trip and fall in life whether physically, spiritually, emotionally, financially, relationally, and the like!
We are going to trip in life! And at some point we will probably fall! We do not plan to trip and we avoid falling at all costs (especially the older we get). Speaking of age, think of all the tripping and falling children do as they learn to walk. It is incredible the number of spills they take on their way to learning a new skill. If your children are climbers, the trips and falls multiply quickly. Most times they just get right back up and keep on going. Surely, there are times when it hurts too much to keep going and the tears flow freely. Then we are quick to say “Rub it! You’re okay! You can do it!” We should apply those same principles to our trips and falls in life. Get up and keep right on going, perfecting our walk until we don’t trip in that area anymore. But when those times come when the trip and fall hurts too much, rub the wounds with the anointing of God, remember we are okay, and declare we can do it because all things are possible through Christ Jesus!
We discover as we learn new things in Christ (a perpetual state of being for followers of Jesus), we will trip and yes, sometimes we will fall. But it is all part of the learning process. Then there are those trips and falls in life that come not as a result of learning a new skill like walking as babies do, but they happen as a result of not paying attention, being in a hurry, or having some unseen obstacle planted right in our path. Nonetheless we can still learn from them if we listen to God in His Word.
One thing is for certain – the older we get the more painful falling is in any area of life. There is the instant pain followed with the possibility of days, weeks, months, or years of healing to our bodies, emotions, egos, or spirits. The ultimate question is what are we going to do with the trips of life and the inevitable falling?
In the last blog laughter was discussed as a remedy for tripping and falling. Not the kind of laughter that pokes fun of a situation but the kind that brings healing. The Bible says a merry heart is like medicine to the soul. Laughing can be as healing as crying and certainly we all need healing in our lives! One of God’s medicines in life is a joyful heart which is often expressed with laughter as we rejoice to keep our spirits fresh and our bodies filled and resting in hope. We should take daily doses of merry heart medicine to keep our countenance fresh in Him!
Another lesson I learned is that no matter how well-prepared, competent, skilled, or well-balanced we think we are, tripping still happens and sometimes we fall. For example, I am ordinarily sure-footed and able to keep my balance quite well. I am usually observant of my surroundings, fairly alert to unsuspecting occurrences, and quick to move out of the way of danger while in transit by any mode! And still, the reality is I was tripped up! I believe we can all safely agree there are times in life when we get comfortable or confident in our own ability to avoid disaster, or lax in our alertness to it.
I don’t believe things “just happen” in life although they “do” happen. With this approach, I look for God in every situation rather than letting an opportunity pass by as though it is “just” a part of living in a fallen world. Sure, I could simply say I tripped and fell because I am getting older and was not looking where I was going. Those might even be true statements but there is always “More” to our mishaps than we can see! After this particular trip the Lord reminded me to reposition myself under His shelter, to watch where I walk in order to avoid imminent obstacles, and to slow down and focus on the important things of life. These same principles apply to every area of stumbling!
First, staying under the shelter of our Most High God will not stop the attacks of the world from coming at us, but it does provide a place of safety, protection, and confidence in the only One who can save us from attack. If we are honest, sometimes we trip and fall because we have moved out of His shelter and have not been abiding in His presence. Therefore we must reposition ourselves under Him and stay there! Psalm 91:1-2,11-12 “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress; my God, in Him I will trust.’ For He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways. In their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone.”
I hope you see the beauty in those verses. In my case, I tripped over a raised section of asphalt in the parking lot. I dashed my foot against a stone! And yes, His angels whom He has given to be in charge over me, keeping me in all my ways, caught me. What I didn’t share in the original account of my trip and fall is that I went down and landed “palms up”. Everyone knows when we fall we attempt to break our fall with our hands, palms down. I on the other hand (pun intended) scratched, bruised, and gouged the top of my hands. It was as though His angels guided me to land in the best position possible to avoid breakage of body parts. Now if you are a naysayer, you might think if His angels were truly guarding me I wouldn’t have fallen at all. And I would tell you we cannot begin to count the number of times we face potential disaster on a daily basis and are saved by His unseen protective hand. And Scripture clearly states we will dash our feet against stones. We will trip up. Our falling is not a sign of His unfaithfulness to protect and deliver us. Our falling is simply an opportunity for us to acknowledge His faithfulness to keep and bear us up in times of trouble!
Secondly, watching where we walk is essential to avoid enemy attacks. When we know the enemy prowls and puts obstacles in our path to trip us up, we will heed the advice given in 1 Peter 5:8-9 “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brothers in the world.” The enemy is walking around and seeking to devour us! He is our personal adversary and we must never forget the devil is alive and well therefore we must resist him. James 4:7 again tells us to “Submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” In order to resist something you must face it! You cannot resist what you do not know, what you do not realize is pressing against you, and what you will not acknowledge is seeking to destroy you. Sure – when we trip and fall in life we can simply credit it to being human, to chance, coincidence, or to mere happenstance. But then… it is unlikely we will be sober and vigilant, remain steadfast in the faith, submit to God, or resist the devil and watch him flee. Watching where and how we walk is simply wisdom!
And lastly, we need to slow down and focus on the important things in life by fixing our eyes on the One who is all important. When we are rushing through life we tend to be un-alert to situations which do not synchronize with our Christian walk. I love the advice given in Proverbs 4:25-27 even though it might seem a little hard hitting personally after just tripping up. “Let your eyes look directly ahead and let your gaze be fixed straight in front of you. Watch the path of your feet and all your ways will be established. Do not turn to the right or to the left; turn your foot from evil.” I love how the Word of God is so clear and direct – don’t you?
Well, I have a few more lessons learned from my trip and fall – but those are for the next blogs! My prayer is that our confidence rests solely in Jesus! Surely, we will trip and fall, and surely He will watch over us because He is mighty to save! The next time you trip and fall in any area of life, get up and remember; reposition yourself under His shelter, watch where you walk to avoid imminent obstacles, and slow down, focus on the important things of life by gazing into the face of God!