“Help! I've fallen and I can't get up!”
The image of a woman lying helpless on the floor after a fall flashes across my TV screen. An often repeated advertisement warns me, “One out of three people over 65 will fall this year.” Because I'm in that category I'm urged to buy an alert button to hang on a pendant around my neck to assure being rescued in the probable event of a fall.
I thought about some of the reasons one might fall and the spiritual applications:
Entangled feet—throw rugs or a purring cat rubbing our ankles can topple us.
Weak knees—suddenly our legs buckle and down we go.
Uneven ground—we trip over unexpected rough places on a walkway.
A hearing problem—we lose our equilibrium if our ears aren't tuned to God.
Diminished eyesight—we don't see the hazards evident to those who see properly.
Fainting—we suddenly collapse when we feel lightheaded.
Uncertain of our direction—our indecision causes a misstep.
We habitually hurry—we move too fast for our feet to keep up with our gait.
We are pushed—someone shoves us accidentally or on purpose.
Foot problems—wear and tear on our arches causes pain and limping.
Inattention—we don't listen when someone warns us about a danger.
Inadequate light—we stumble over unseen obstacles.
Too much baggage—we are thrown off balance by carrying extra pounds
Our spine is stressed—misalignment throws us off balance.
We are drunk—staggering, we can't walk the straight line test.
Staircase mishaps—going up or down we may miss a step and fall.
Shuffling—we don't pick up our feet properly.
Distracted—our mind is elsewhere and our feet are confused.
Inappropriate footwear—improper shoes or walking in bedroom slippers.
Accidental falling happens to the toddler and to the advanced-in-life totterer and to anyone in between. For the small child, it is a matter of learning to walk and how to get up from a tumble. Because the little one is closer to the floor, the bumps and bruises are not usually critical. Sufficient baby fat cushions their fall. The older person, having been a veteran walker, may not be aware of the increasing lack of balance that comes with chronological aging. A fall is usually more serious because bones are more brittle and there is less natural padding. As seniors, we should learn to watch our step.
Most of the above physical warnings can translate into spiritual warnings. Although we may be longtime Christians, we are still in danger of losing our spiritual balance and falling. The road of life may be getting rough. Uncertainty faces us. We shuffle instead of walk with alertness focusing on where we are going. We can become confused and lose our spiritual bearings.
Some unexpected trauma of life may threaten to topple us. We are not as careful to walk in God's full light as we did in the fervor of our first love for Christ. We must be careful not to carry too much baggage of the past; it may drag us down to a fall. Our attachments to this life may be too tight. If our feet are tired and weak from the length of life's journey, we may need spiritual orthodics in our shoes to maintain our foot health and balance. We may not be hearing God's whisper of guidance as we did when we were in a more intimate relationship with Him. The Holy Spirit is available as our hearing aid.
Jesus admonished us to watch and pray so we will recognize the particular temptations of our life road and not trip. Let's not let our vision become clouded with the cataracts of the passing things of this world. Along our pathway are sins which can so easily beset us and upset us causing us to fall if our spiritual eyes aren't focused on God. Our feet may get tangled up in the trivia of the temporal and down we go spiritually. If we are not progressing in our faith and trust in God, we slip backward and eventually take a spill. If we don't keep our knees strong (literally by kneeling in worship or by worshiping in our spirits) we will join our peers who head for knee and hip replacements.
Only with our hearts continually turned to prayer can we keep from fainting from the weariness of advancing age. Some of us in our senior years slow down too soon and fall from the resulting weakness caused by inactivity. On the other hand, some of us tend to excessively hurry because the time left on earth seems so short—we trip and fall too. We should trust Jesus to show us His will for our pace at each season of life.
We must beware of elevating ourselves with high heels of pride for our achievements, turn an ankle, and take a tumble. “Pride goes before a fall” the Scripture declares. Let's not be drunk with the luxuries and comforts of this world which the evil one designs to keep us from walking the straight line of righteousness.
In our advanced years our spinal disks deteriorate and we may lose a few inches. Applied spiritually, we may “lose our backbone” by no longer standing up straight for the moral and spiritual issues we once stood for so enthusiastically.
Let's obtain whatever spiritual alignment we need to keep walking tall as faithful children of God--all the way to the Finish Line without falling.