A Hand Up - Reflections on Falling and Being Lifted Up

If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. Ecclesiastes 4:10

Life is full of curveballs isn’t it? One of my favorite things to do after deciding to follow Jesus back in 2004 was serve the “widows and orphans.” In San Francisco I was part of a ministry that went into run-down SRO hotels to do evangelistic Bible studies, was a “little brother” to an elderly shut-in, and visited patients at the nearby hospital’s skilled nursing facility. In Seattle I also became deeply involved with an organization called Elder Friends, helping support a 95-year-old home-bound woman who had no family, was nearly blind, and rapidly developing dementia. These activities - and many others like it - gave my life a sense of real purpose and meaning; I felt I was being obedient to God and making a difference at the same time.

Then things changed - a slip on a log while backpacking injured my left knee; a small pebble on a concrete floor injured my bare foot, and my journey through chronic pain began. Little by little I lost my ability to do the things I loved, including my volunteer work, and I began to feel lost, helpless, and scared. I rarely let myself stop and think about that time; to be honest it’s still confusing and still so very, very painful.

However, as I reflect back on that time now I am so very thankful for the numerous people God put into my life to help me on those dark, dark days. On the top of that list would be my then new wife Erin, who prayed for me, cried for me, and stood by me through what felt like one blow after another. I also think of my community group leader Miguel, who the Spirit would often nudge to call or stop by when I was at my lowest and felt no one remembered my situation or cared. Then there was Paul, a single guy in our community group who would stop by to just be present, and make my wife and I laugh at the crazy “meals” he would sometimes bring over. Here in Pella I think of family members, my men’s group, my pastor, and my coffee pals - two godly, older men who have been spiritual mentors on this journey.

Then there is God himself - the source of my strength when I had none, and the spark of hope when it felt all hope had been lost. I am here today because of his love; maybe you have a similar story as well, a tale of “God’s the only reason I can tell this story today.”

My devotion today comes from Our Daily Bread and is called “A Hand Up” - it talks about the wonderful gift of having someone to help us get back up when we’ve fallen, physically and spiritually. I loved the conclusion of the message - If it appears that no one is nearby to lift us to our feet again, we can find comfort in knowing that God is our ever-present help (Psalm 46:1). As we reach out to Him, He’s ready to steady us with His firm grip.

If you’re feeling lost or alone today, remember - God has his grip on you!

Ryan ZondervanComment