One of my church members is recuperating from a recent stroke. He has been undergoing a period of intense therapy in the rehabilitation section at one of the area hospitals.
When I first visited him in his room set up for patients with his type of medical issue, a unique feature stood out to me. Above the bed there were some words painted on the ceiling tile in such a way as to be easily read by the patient who reclined in that spot. In bright, bold lettering it read, “Call nurse. Do not fall.”
That message was intended to remind a patient not to try to get out of bed on his own. One of the problems is that individuals in those circumstances often can either forget about their condition or simply think they can do more than they’re able to do, and end up falling and hurting themselves even worse.
From what I’ve been told, the staff in that department is very firm about warning patients from trying to do too much too soon. In various ways, they reaffirm the message advising people to seek assistance rather than risk the setback of experiencing a fall.
It reminds me of what Paul wrote in relation to our spiritual wellbeing: “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall” (I Corinthians 10:12).
We can run into problems spiritually when we lose sight of our complete dependence on the Lord. We begin to think we’re strong enough to stand on our own two feet against the problems we face and the challenges which pop up on our pathways.
We fail to seek God’s guidance before making an important decision. Or we don’t pray for God’s help, but step out to battle the enemy in our own strength. We start trying to walk the pathway of following Christ with self-confidence rather than God-confidence.
In doing so, we put ourselves at great risk of taking a tumble, one which might not only hurt us and result in a setback from which it might take some time to recover, but which also might adversely affect others.
But Paul didn’t stop with that word of warning. He continued, “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it” (I Corinthians 10:13).
In other words, we don’t have to fall. God is able to uphold us through times of temptation and trial. He has provided the means for us to be able to stand in spite of the difficulty of the challenge and in spite of our own weaknesses.
There is a way to escape falling. We just have to look for it. And we need to call on the Lord and depend on Him to be there to help us find it and to lead us through it.
As this Scripture says, we can count on God — He is faithful. He hasn’t left us alone to fight the battle. He wants us to look to Him for help. He wants to be there to support us and to keep us from falling.
So let’s not forget that the ultimate Helper is available to us. Let’s not ever deceive ourselves into thinking that we’re strong enough to walk without Him.
It’s a message we might not have clearly painted on our ceilings or walls, but we can try to keep it in the forefront of our minds: “Call on the Lord. Do not fall.”
The Rev. Tony W. Elder is pastor of Wesley Community Fellowship Church. He can be reached at 770-483-3405 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.