“The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in Him; though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand. I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread.” Psalm 37:23-24 NIV
When my niece was learning to walk she would often stumble and if an adult was not nearby sometimes she would completely fall. However, regardless of how bad the fall seemed at the moment, she would always rise. Even as a little one she understood something, “ If I am going to walk, I must be prepared to fall.” It would seem ridiculous to us if she one day got down and just decided, “That’s it, I quit, no more walking for me. It is too hard.” Yet over and over again we see that happen in the spiritual lives of adult believers. We only like things steady under our feet. We only want to move if the ground is secure. The fear of stumbling makes us often unwilling to proceed. Our fear becomes our focus and God’s promise is devalued.
The idea of falling in this passage implies not getting up again. It implies giving up on the journey of walking and surrendering to the fall.
Like my niece, on this road of learning we will all stumble, but to the one who delights in God, they will not fall. In other words, they will not stay down. They will rise again, and again, and again. They understand that their stumbling is part of learning to walk and the more they continue to move forward and delight in their God, He makes their footing firm.
Looking back now, the things that use to make my niece stumble no longer can. Her natural feet have become a lot more firm under her. Things that once would take her down in a second have lost their power to do so because she stayed in the learning journey. Her feet only became firm because she endured and took delight on the path before her. Things that we did not have to worry about her accessing because she could not get to them, now we know given the chance, she will go anywhere at speeds that adults have trouble keeping up with.
This is what God wants us to understand. Keep going, don’t let the stumble become a permanent fall. Delight in the One who is holding your hand like the adults holding the hand of a child learning. If we do, we will testify like this Psalm, never once on this road did my fall become permanent. God has been the firm footing under my feet.
Today I am grateful that the moments when my knees shook and I stumbled, that God was there to remind me that this is only a stumble, don’t make it permanent. I can testify, the righteous are not forsaken, and His seed is always supplied. I am thankful that I have been upheld by His righteous hand.