The habit of holding on prevents our stumble down the stairs, but falling is not failing.
“Mmmmmmmmoooooommmmmmmm,” Brianne wailed, through broken breaths of crying…”Oooooowwwwwwweeeeee.”
Happens at least once a week. One of them falls down the stairs, and I’m greeted by Brianne’s cry of shock, or Lo running to me out of breath and holding her butt. I’m used to the routine of hurried footsteps followed by awkward clunking…
Despite my best efforts to educate and warn, my little Lo will come flying around the corner high-kneed and stomach punched often enough to warrant her own hashtag. Her crash down the staircase is often prefaced by a symphony of Ty eye-ball plinks as they reach the first floor first.
I caught an interesting directive falling out of my mouth as I held a sobbing Brianne after her latest tumble down the stairs.
“Hold on to the railing,” I begged her, “You’re too precious to fall.”
How many times do we want to bolt up a railing for kids to hold on to …thinking they’ll surely recognize, appreciate, and grip it tight, preventing a nasty fall. But they don’t. Three reasons why:
1. They don’t recognize it when they need it because they weren’t paying attention to something they didn’t need at the time.
2. They don’t appreciate the love and care bolted into the wall of protective measures we surround them with, because they don’t understand why it’s necessary.
3. They don’t grip it in swallowed pride when they are about to fall down the stairs, because they don’t think our protections are as necessary for them as they are for us.
Down the stairs they tumble …and we’re helpless as our precious babes fall.
“I told you so.”
“Why didn’t you hold onto the railing?”
“We talked about this.”
I used to frustrate my face into a fury over their lack of listening skills, until I tumbled down the stairs with the vacuum cleaner one day.
“Well, that was stupid,” I said to myself out loud in an empty house.
God revealed a few things through the railing:
1. Falling isn’t failing.
“Therefore, in order to keep me from being conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh…” 2Corinthians 12:7
The apostle Paul was clever to point out that our imperfections and insults to injury are what keep us in check with reality. And reality is, God knows we all need something to hold on to. Just because we let go doesn’t mean we give up.
2. The railing is Jesus.
“For through Him we now have access to the Father by one Spirit.”-Ephesians 2:18
God has bolted His Son to our hearts, that we may access Him through prayer, The Word, and the Holy Spirit. The access is there for the acceptance. I’m no better than my daughters at holding on to the railing, but
God doesn’t punish me every time I fall down the stairs. Don’t you punish yourself, either.
He is not waiting at the bottom with an “I told you so,” or a “well, that was stupid.” No, He’s waiting at the bottom, already knowing how much it hurt. Because of Jesus, God says,
“It’s not too late, grab the railing and pull yourself up.”
3. Jesus knows that life is difficult…that’s why He put the railing there in the first place. He died for us… He’s not going to give up, even when we let go.
“For we do not have a High Priest who is unable to understand and sympathize and have a shared feeling with our weaknesses…” Hebrews 4:15
Jesus felt what we feel, “yet without sin.” (Hebrews 4:15) He was tempted, but never failed. The railing is there, but He knows we’re not God. We’re to have faith, not be perfect.
4. He watches out for us.
“For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him.” -2Chronicles 16:9
Often when I’m out walking in the morning, I can’t help but feel God’s warmth in the beginning of a new day. The sky is so much prettier in the morning, after it pierces through the darkness of night. I look for God in that sky, and He meets me there. Day after day, railing still securely bolted to the wall of the staircase.
“My heart is confident in you, O God; no wonder I can sing your praises with all my heart.” Psalm 108:1
Through Jesus we can come to the Father and receive grace. A God who cares for us, watches out for us, and forgives us. “Hold on to the railing…you’re too precious to fall.” But when you do, I hope you know, He’s with you.