Twice a day, every day, I walk my dog. Even in this weather, and right now here in Ontario we are recovering from a couple of storms which included lots of snow, ice pellets and worst of all, freezing rain. And yet out I go, faithfully trudging through the snow, trying my best to avoid those awful icy patches. And before I leave home, I pray a quick prayer “Lord, please help me to stay upright.”
So far this winter I have not fallen at all, for which I am very grateful. “Thank you, Jesus!” I have frequently slipped, however, and one morning recently I even had to grab hold of a lamp post to stop myself sliding all the way down a slight incline. Whatever it takes. It got me thinking, though, about how important staying upright is not just about the physical, but also in the spiritual sense.
Staying upright is important, but it is not something that I am constantly concerned about. When I walk my dog in July, the thought never crosses my mind that I might slip over. Hence, I do not need to pray my little prayer asking the Lord to keep me upright. It is the same in my walk with the Lord. I recognize that there are times when I am more likely to fall than others. When I am tired would be one of those times. I need to rest, but I need to be careful should I choose to watch something on the TV that I choose carefully. Even more so I need to be careful with my words. When I am tired, and at home with my family, those are the ones likely to receive my snap responses. “Lord, help me to be kind when I am tired.”
When I am under the weather there is another opportunity to hold on to something solid, like the truth in the Word of God, so that I do not slip down into unbelief. I am learning to use the response of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who replied to the Babylonian King when he was about to throw them into the fiery furnace for refusing to worship the Kings idol, that I believe the Lord can completely restore me from whatever I am struggling with. If God does not immediately heal me, however, I will continue to trust in him, and not give way to what the enemy would like. I want the Word of God to dictate what I believe, not circumstances.
If I make a mistake and fail to be all that I think I should be, I can have a tendency to turn on myself and be critical. Negative words, even just thought rather than given voice to, are still wrong, and not what the Father wants for me. And if someone else happens to be voicing those words instead of me, I do not need to agree with them. I may have made a mistake, but that does not mean I am stupid. I can ask the Lord any time what he thinks of me, and his answer will always be positive and encouraging. My thinking about myself needs to come in line with what God thinks about me.
This morning the temperature went just a little above freezing, and I mistakenly thought that would mean it was not so slippery out. I was wrong, and half way round my morning jog I asked the Lord again to keep me upright. When I am caught unawares it is never too late to ask the Lord to help me do the right thing, to speak and think truth. In recognizing my personal weaknesses, I can also recognize my heavenly Father’s desire to help me.