Our Lenten Devotion for Tuesday, March 8, comes to us from Steadfast Love by Henri J.M. Nouwen
24 though we stumble, we shall not fall headlong, for the Lord holds us by the hand. Psalm 37:24 NRSV
“Jesus suffered this with us as he fell. He calls us now to trust that both his and our falling are a true part of the way of the cross. Maybe all that we can do when we fall is to remember that Jesus fell and is falling now with us.” (Walk with Jesus, p.47)
I’m not all that steady on my feet these days. I know I’m getting old. I find that often I have to grab hold of things to keep my balance. I used to go walking until I discovered the ruts along the walkway seemed to be reaching out to trip me up. Or maybe the ruts are less to blame than my own unwillingness to admit I need help. I use a cane these days when I go out. I also lean on Jesus more as my physical limitations have reminded me how much I need my Savior. My legs may not be as strong as they once were and the cane sometimes slips out from under me, but even with all that, I still have Jesus. He’s always there to catch me with his grace and forgiveness.
“Help! I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!” Many of us recognize this phrase from the commercial advertising a medical alert necklace. Some may have purchased the device or similar devices for themselves or their parents. The device offers peace of mind to children, that in case of a fall, their parents can summon medical attention to prevent a prolonged medical trauma. While we recognize the benefit of providing a means for our aging parents to receive emergency help, how many of us are willing to ask for assistance when we are in a crisis of the soul? How many of us seek the wise counsel and trusted tempering of friend to steer us away from making an unwise decision? How many of us in moments of need summon the courage to admit that we cannot do it by ourselves, or that we do not know the answer.
One of the greatest pieces of advice I received for being a good pastor, was readily admitting when I don’t know the answer. Only God knows the answer to every question. When we seek the wisdom and discernment of God, we draw from a reservoir that is deeper than our finite ability. I’ve heard it said, “that seeking help is not a sign of weakness, but the ultimate sign of strength”. As we continue our Lenten journey, allow the strength, wisdom, and humbleness of our Savior move you toward a deepening reliance upon God.
Take my hand, dear Lord; take my heart as well. And when the time is right, take whatever’s left. I give my everything to you forever. Amen.
--Henri J.M. Nouwen