When You Feel Like You're Falling

I watched a friend with his year-old son. The kid had figured out that walking often leads to falling. Crawling is safer, and for him, it was still faster. It works. It’s comfortable. Why change?


But on this day, the kid’s knees were bare, and he was on the rough, splintered wood floor of a utility trailer. Dad knew it wasn’t a safe place to crawl. And Dad knows what the boy cannot yet comprehend: walking, once mastered, is better than crawling.


So, Dad wouldn’t let the boy crawl. He held him up, forced him to stand. Twice, then three times, the boy tried to sit, but his dad pulled him back up, refusing to let him do what was easiest and safest. Then? Dad let go!


The kid was terrified! He eyes went wide. For the briefest moment, he balanced upright before he teetered back and forth. He was going down!


It reminded me of God. And us.


These are scary days. We have been hit by waves of pandemic, and disrupted supply chains, and cancelled schools and events. We are seeing unsettling inflation and hearing projections of a bumpy economic road in the coming year. We may feel ourselves teetering.


The apostle Peter once wrote to people living through some similarly scary times. Their faith had forced them to flee from their homes. They lost friends, families, all that was familiar - and their jobs. As “strangers” in their new homes, they weren’t greeted with open arms – nor with open doors to new careers.


Yet, Peter said the strangest thing: “you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials” (1 Peter 1:6). Rejoice? In this situation? Why?


It’s only “for a little while.” Though it didn’t feel so little (likely the rest of their lives), compared to eternity, it was but an instant. And better days await - “an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade--kept in heaven” (v. 4). And the danger is less than it seems for those “shielded by God's power” (v. 5). Plus, suffering is often a refining process that will make us better – help us walk instead of crawl (v. 7). Hard times make for stronger people.


Back to our little boy. He whimpered and reached for his father. That was all it took! Dad swooped him up and held him safe and laughed with him at what was really never a danger at all.


It reminded me of God. And us.