The Lord is Merciful

by Jan Silvious

The Scriptures say in Psalm 37, "The steps of a man are established by the Lord; and He delights in his way. When he falls, he shall not be hurled headlong; because the Lord is the One who holds his hand" (vv. 23-24 nasb).

Back in 1971, when I came into a personal relationship with the Lord, it seemed that I did more falling than walking. It got to be discouraging because just about the time I thought I was on a consistently righteous walk, I'd fall. I was around a lot of Christians who were older in the Lord, and I was watching a lot of Christian television programs and reading a lot of Christian books but I just wasn't measuring up to what I knew I should be. Frankly, I despaired that I ever could be the kind of Christian I wanted to be. I had played the church game for years and I couldn't stand to think of just playing at being a Christian and never becoming what I thought a real Christian was.

One day I sat down on my sofa and my eyes fell on the big Bible that was open for decoration on my coffee table. (It was of the gilded variety that comes as a bonus with a set of encyclopedias. Terribly impractical, but attractive, nonetheless.) I looked down and it was opened to Psalm 56:12,13. And for the first time, it was if God said these words directly to me: "Thy vows are upon me, O God; I will render praises unto thee. For thou hast delivered my soul from death; wilt not thou deliver my feet from falling, that I may walk before God in the light of the living?" (KJV).

My eyes nearly popped out of my head. This verse was for me! His vows were on me. Having taken wedding vows I knew the seriousness of a vow, so I knew that if His vows were on me, I was a Christian whether I happened to feel like one that day or not. Then He said my soul had been delivered from death. He had saved me from eternal damnation, so surely He could keep my feet from falling. I had been underestimating the power of God in my life to "keep" me. I could believe that He would save me, but I just couldn't believe that I could walk without falling down and permanently blowing it as a Christian. In Psalm 37, God says, "He shall not be utterly cast down; for the Lord upholdeth him with his hand" (v. 24 KJV). The very hand of God is there to hold you-you may not feel it, but God says it is there.

As each of my three boys learned to walk, our hands were always there. They fell to their knees, many times, but we never let them fall on their heads or get permanently hurt. In the same way, the Lord is always there to keep us. He will not let us be cast down. "For though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again" (Prov. 24:16).

From The 5-Minute Devotional

© Zondervan, 1991