At the top of the long, broad, not very steep stairs of a museum I visited with my Mom when I was 14, I exclaimed to myself, “I just love to run down stairs!” Bloop, bump, tumble down them I came, landing at the bottom with a sprained ankle and severly wounded pride. At the top of the stairs, I was glad to be the center of attention and was sure evryone would see how graceful and agile I was. At the bottom of the stairs, I was a crumbled, red-faced, humiliated heap that wanted to hide under the nearest rug.
Now that I am more than 60 years old, I have to admit that I’ve had to relearn that lesson many times. But frequently, mercifully, when I get too full of myself, thinking I can do no wrong, I hear my 14-year-old self saying, “I just love to run down stairs!” That thought sometimes stops me for just the moment I need to regain my footing and avoid another fall. Sometimes.
Before that day at the museum, I had heard God’s warning to me and everyone else: “Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall (Proverbs 16:18).” But I had to experience the consequences of giving in to pride before I could accept that there is a difference between pride/haughtiness, which eventully but inevitably leads to a fall, and the self-confidence that I am fearfully and wonderfully made in God’s image, which gives me the courage to do whatever I need to do in my life.
Now that I am older, it is much easier to accept God’s warnings, spread throughout His word, the Bible. Those warnings are repeated all around us through the common sense experience of wise men and women throughout history. Amazingly, I have found that every time I reach out for God’s hand, He lovingly guides me down stairs and through the maze of this life. And it is so much more enjoyable (exhilarating really!) to go where He’s taking me than to go anywhere else on my own.
Amen and amen.
Psalm 139:14, “I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well.”
Philippians 4:13. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” From the New King James Version (NKJV) translation.)