Although a righteous person may fall seven times, he gets up again, but the wicked will be brought down by calamity. (Proverbs 24:16, New English Translation)
Anyone who knows me well knows I am a total klutz. I’m sure I was born with some yet undiscovered gene that causes klutziness. I can trip on thin air and have the bumps and bruises to prove it. Meeting the ground in a forceful manner can hurt and at times leave scars. But I pick myself up and go on. Maybe limping for a moment, but I go. I do not just sit on the ground and give up.
That’s good advice for other kinds of stumbles as well. Proverbs 24:16 tells us that a righteous person—someone living for God—may stumble and fall, but he gets up and goes on. Even if it happens several times. Our stumbles may be sin, a setback of some sort, or a calamity that knocks us off kilter. Here are three things to remember:
- No one is perfect. Any of us may stumble during a rough patch in life.
- A fall does not have to result in failure.
- Stumbles can even produce benefits (such as helping us overcome pride, etc.).
Psalm 37:23-24 assures us the Lord is there to give us a steadying hand when we stumble.
“The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD, and He delights in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; For the LORD upholds him with His hand” (NKJV).
Some of the “big names” in Scripture had times in their lives when they stumbled and fell. Let me remind you a few.
- Abraham stumbled when he gave up on God’s promise and had a child by Hagar that was not the child of promise.
- Moses became frustrated with the Israelites and stumbled when he struck the rock instead of speaking to it.
- David badly stumbled when he fell into adultery and murdered an honorable man to cover it up.
- Even John the Baptist had a moment of doubt about whether Jesus was truly the Messiah.
- And Peter denied knowing the Lord three times on that fatal night of Jesus’ arrest.
Each man stumbled but did not allow his fall to define the rest of his life. Each man got up and went on. We must do the same.
An old hymn I remember from childhood says, “I am determined to hold out to the end. Jesus is with me, on Him I can depend.” Perhaps one of the lessons we learn from the stumbles and falls in life is determination to hold on. Proverbs says the righteous person, the one whose faith is in the Lord, will get up again and again. Remember, you are not walking life’s path alone. God is at your side, helping steady you over the rough places.
“For the Lord GOD will help Me; therefore I will not be disgraced; therefore I have set My face like a flint, and I know that I will not be ashamed” (Isaiah 50:7, NKJV).
Lord, I realize I’ve failed You many times in this thing called life. But when my steps become uncertain, when I trip and fall, You are there to steady me and help me get back on my way. You offer me mercy and help me see there are better days ahead. I will not allow myself to become discouraged and give up. I am determined to hold out to the end!