Not Afraid to Fall

by Will Peycke

Do you ever worry about messing up?

I do.

Or perhaps more accurately, I worry about the consequences, the “what might happen” if I mess up: losing time or money, disappointing someone, damaging a relationship, or just being embarrassed or laughed at. Falling isn’t so scary, but hitting the ground is.

For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been meditating on Psalm 121. Abraham walked us through this psalm during our worship service on June 3, reminding us of what it means that God is our “keeper”: he is our guardian and protector; he watches over us and preserves us.

There is great comfort here for worriers like me. The New Testament assures me that through Jesus, God causes all things—even the things I mess up!—to work together for my good (Romans 8:28). When I believe this is true, I can relax. I should still seek to make good decisions, of course—but I don’t have to agonize over those decisions, because I can trust God to be my keeper.

I recently experienced the relief and security of having a “keeper.” To celebrate my son Drew’s 11th birthday, we embarked on a father/son adventure at a zip line and high ropes course near Indianapolis. Put me 20-30 feet off the ground on a bunch of balance obstacles without a reliable “keeper,” and I’ll be shaking too much to even take the first step! But thanks to a great safety system, we had the freedom to navigate the obstacles with the assurance that a wrong step would only mean a minor bump and not a broken leg.

What gave us such security and assurance? Drew and I were securely “locked in” to the course from the moment we left the ground. A big, red, steel “C” clip on our harness hooked into a steel cable running throughout the aerial course. There was no way for the clip to disconnect from the cable until we were back on the ground. Thanks to that big red clip, I didn’t have to worry about messing up! Instead, I could actually enjoy the obstacles—even going “no hands” at points—because the fear of failure had been completely neutralized. I might slip, but I couldn’t fall, because the clip and cable would hold me up.

Psalm 121:3 states that God “will not let your foot slip” (CSB, NASB, NIV) or “be moved” (ESV). Sometimes God “keeps” us by preventing us from slipping, from taking a wrong step, from making a bad decision, from failing under pressure. And I am certainly grateful for the times when God watches over me in that way. During my afternoon in the trees, though, I was reminded that God is still my “keeper” even when my foot does slip. Psalm 37 states, “If the LORD delights in a man's way, he makes his steps firm; though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD upholds him with his hand” (Psalm 37:24 NIV).

That big red clip and steel cable freed me to enjoy an otherwise-dangerous situation without worrying about what would happen if I fell. But even more, it reminded me to relax and “worship on the journey” of life for the same reason: I don’t have to worry so much about what might happen if I mess up. My God is in control, and he holds me—even when I slip. I can tackle the obstacles I encounter with confidence because he is my keeper, and I am safe in his hand.

In what area of life do you need to rely on God as your “keeper” today? What “step of faith” can you take because of the assurance that he upholds you with his hand?