I found a scripture many years ago that gained my attention in the Gospel of John. It simply says, “I give them eternal life, and they will never die, and no one can steal them out of my hand.” (John 10:28)
The Master’s words, found in my favorite Gospel, were assuring to me as someone whose fear of falling literally consumed my thoughts. Have you ever had that kind of fear?
Well, I must confess to you a fall. I’ve kept it secret long enough. I can’t deny the stumble; nor can I dismiss the truth. I fell. There were witnesses to my slip. They could tell you all the details, but graciously, they have told no one. Out of concern for my reputation, they kept the event a secret. But it has been a secret long enough. The time has come for my fall to be shared.
I lost my footing on a mission trip to Jamaica. Rather than drive, my pastor colleagues and I decided to walk up a steep hill. We got out of the jeep we were being driven in and began to climb up this incline that overlooked the ocean. It was beautiful. With about twenty feet to go, I wondered if I would make it. I had serious thoughts of telling the driver to come and pick me up. My feet were sore, my back was aching, and my legs felt like jelly. I gave it all that I had, but all that I had was not enough. My feet slipped and down I went. I fell hard but didn’t fall far. My companions caught me and I resumed the climb.
Guess what I did when I made it to the top? Do you think I boasted? Do you think I bragged about conquering the hill? No way. I looked at the ones who caught me and said thank you for being there in my most embarrassing moment. I didn’t ask what they thought when they saw me tumble feet over my head. I expressed gratitude to my closest friends in ministry who held me in my fall.
If only all my tumbles were so simple, brief, and harmless. They haven’t been. I’ve been known to fall off of much more than a hill in Jamaica. I’ve let go of promises and convictions. There have been times when my feet slipped off the very mountains of truth I treasure. And I can’t tell you how many times I’ve expected to hit the bottom only to find myself suspended in midair, secured by Jesus’ nail-pierced hands.
You and I are on a great climb. The mountain is high, and the stakes are higher. Your climb began the day you confessed Christ as the Son of God. He gave you His help---the Holy Spirit. In your hands, He placed a rope---His Word.
My beloved, with every journey there is weariness and with the height comes fear. You have lost footing. You have lost focus. You have tumbled. Though you can’t see your Help you know Him. God is strong and you know He is able to keep you from falling.