It happens, doesn’t it? You walk on this earth long enough and there will be times when what you have stood upon, depended upon, slips out from under your feet.
I got the call the other day from my stepmother asking me to come home. Daddy was cutting the pastures along the creek-bottoms when the bank of the creek gave way and down tumbled my dad, tractor and all. Thankfully my father is okay – bruised and shook up, but otherwise okay. It was an accident that could not be prevented and it happened as suddenly and surprisingly as the earth simply disappearing.
There are times in every life when the earth just falls away beneath our feet. It can come as an accident out of nowhere that disrupts or our normalcy. Sometimes a nagging anxiety of failure shakes our sense of grounding. The earth falls away whenever we experience a disappointment or a breach of trust.
How have you experienced the ground from which you stand give way? A demotion? A bad grade? An illness? A death? What gets you back on solid ground? For my dad it was my brother and nephew who were “first responders.” Lifting him out of the cab from the muddy waters of the creek onto the solid ground of the pastures restored his sure – but shaken – footing.
We all need someone who will reach into the darkness, into the calamity, into our fears to give us a steady hand of assurance and stability. The joy of belonging in friendship and family is the peace of knowing we can depend on one another.
It is also a way of practicing our faith together too. We need each other to shore up our doubts and discouragements and to bolster our hopes. In our confessions we preach and teach about Christ, the Solid Rock, but as important as teaching is the living and sharing. Through the years I am grateful to church members and teachers, professors and preachers, friends and family who step into my life when the earth gives way.
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea…