|Maddux and Kelli holding hands during last year's Easter Egg Hunt|
A few years back, when Maddux was around two years old, he and Jim were walking down the steps of our back deck when Maddux stumbled and missed a step. Jim, holding his hand at the time, kept him from face planting on the walkway...but his little elbow was pulled out of its socket by the force of the fall. Maddux immediately started to cry and by the look on Jim's face, he was near tears himself. A quick(ish) visit to an Urgent Care Center and his "nursemaid's elbow" was back in place, ready to get back to playtime. Although Jim had 'saved' Maddux from possibly worse injuries, it was a traumatic experience for both of them. (Jim still refuses to hold anyones hand as they walk down steps.)
I remember similar experiences when our children were learning to toddle about. Sometimes their little feet would get going too fast or the ground would be too uneven for them to keep their balance. If their little legs were exposed, they might even scrape a knee on the sidewalk even though my hand kept them from falling headlong. A combination of fear, pain and the sight of blood would often bring showers of tears and a fair amount of wailing.
This morning during my quiet time reading of Psalm 37:23-24, I was reminded of these incidents.
"The LORD directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the LORD holds them by the hand." (New Living Translation)
The New American Standard translates verse 24 like this: "When he falls, he will not be hurled headlong. Because the LORD is the One who holds his hand."
Sometimes (okay -- Oftentimes) I stumble and fall. Most of the time I scrape my knee cap and need a band aid to cover the blood. Other times, though, the fall is so forceful that something comes out of socket. It is painful. It is traumatic, even. But thank goodness, I am never 'hurled headlong' to my destruction BECAUSE MY GOD IS HOLDING MY HAND. (Hallelujah!)
As I thought over this verse, I could imagine God experiencing the pain with me just like Jim did with Maddux that warm Sunday afternoon. Though He is never taken by surprise at my fall or found second guessing His response, He still grieves over my pain (Luke 19:41-44) and shows compassion towards me (Luke 7:11-15). He is also quick to pull out the spiritual salve and band aids as He wipes away the tears from my face.
Are you experiencing some pain from a stumble today?
Maybe it was something small but that knee smarts just a little bit. Maybe it was something big that brought tremendous pain and you are left feeling sore and out of sorts.
Remember, Scripture doesn't say "if" we fall but "when" we fall.
So know that you are not alone...
neither are you going to be hurled headlong to your destruction...
but our God is still there...
holding your hand.