23 The LORD makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; 24 though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD upholds him with his hand.
A short time ago, I suffered a severe case of vertigo and dizziness. For several days, I did a lot of stumbling. It was anything but fun, and I hope it never happens again. Fortunately, despite the wobbliness, I didn’t fall.
That experience helped me to appreciate the powerful promise in Psalm 37.23-24 that addresses spiritual stumbling.
Yes, even when endeavoring to walk with God, we can still stump a toe occasionally. But with that stumbling comes the assurance we won’t fall because the Lord upholds our hand.
Before we look at the cause of spiritual stumbling, it’s important to point to who benefits from this promise. “The LORD makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him…”
Spiritual stumbling occurs even when we have the best intentions — but most often it is the result of sin. Foot in mouth disease is a common cause, as are fits of anger, and a cross disposition. I mention these sins because they are the most common for Christians, but there are plentiful others in which we engage. The point is, it’s hard to maintain your footing when you’re disobeying the Lord.
Sometimes stumbling comes because we fail to consult with God. A consistent prayer life facilitates a steady walk with God.
Why is it that some Christians cringe when you ask, “Have you prayed about it?” Is it because they haven’t taken their concern to God and they’re embarrassed by the answer? Or is it because they don’t really expect that God will do anything about their predicament?
Another contributing factor to spiritual stumbling is getting ahead of God, impatience, trying to force a solution rather than waiting. God’s word is a lamp and light for our path (Psalm 119:105). Consequently, we stumble when we fail to seek God’s wise counsel.
And we have the onboard Counselor, the Holy Spirit, to lead us in the way we should go. Listening to the voices of others and ignoring the direction of the Spirit can cause us to stumble.
Beware of earthly desires and treasures. It’s not that God doesn’t want you to have THINGS, it’s just that pursuit and longing can cause you to lose your balance. Have you ever wanted something so badly it consumed your thoughts? Just had to have it. Maybe it was a promotion, a specific job, a dream home or car, or the girl or guy of your dreams.
Five years ago when we were house hunting, we found a home east of Birmingham in a subdivision called Kelly Creek. It was just what we wanted, and we believed it was THE home that God wanted us to have. And so we began to pray. Fervently. Expectantly. Not long after we received word that the house had been sold. Make no mistake, disappointment can make you stumble, when you lose out on something you thought you were meant to have.
But God kept us from falling, and in His good timing gave us something better than the house we thought was the only one.
Our stumbling is only for a little while as we live on earth. Things will be different in our heavenly home. Our walk with God will be perfect.
The Bible describes our world as a place of darkness (Isaiah 9:2). Navigating without light is difficult if not impossible. Therefore, we stumble. But in heaven, our way will be illuminated by the supreme light. “The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp.” (Revelation 21:23)
Next time you stump your toe in the darkness of this world, remember the picture from our focus text: “… though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD upholds him with his hand.” God stands ready to forgive, and He holds securely to your salvation. The Apostle Paul put it this way: “… I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day.” (2 Timothy 1:12)
For more on this topic, check out this article: Blessed Assurance
Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 3 (July – September)