After wearing reading glasses for about 10 years, I recently graduated to the real thing -- prescription eyeglasses. They're supposedly distance, reading up close and computer/piano distance all in one. "Progressive lenses" is the fancy name. It sure sounds better than tri-focals! I must say, I’ve been blessed with good eyesight all my life. But a lifetime of avid reading, playing piano, plus a couple of decades of staring at a computer screen all day makes certain things inevitable. Severe neck issues being one, and waning eyesight being the other. So, my time for glasses had finally come.
After a couple of months, all I know for sure is that I can only see anything clearly when the exact right part of the lens is on the object I'm trying to see. Do you want to guess how often that happens? And that magic spot for the computer screen, well, it's still eluding me. The real problem is that the periphery is always blurry. Which, if you could keep you head perfectly straight and look only directly in front of you, would be no problem. But, if you’re walking on a sidewalk in a park with a group of people, for example, and looking around at the trees and birds, you might not clearly see the edge of the sidewalk. Hypothetically, one might easily face plant in the grass if she were to step on the edge of the sidewalk with her hands full of items preventing her from catching herself. Yes, yes I did and it wasn't pretty. Did I mention the with-a-group-of-people part? That was Day 3 with the glasses and since my face smacked the ground (thankfully, NOT the sidewalk) the glasses were not only covered in mud from the previous two days rain, but also now lopsided…quite lopsided…too lopsided to wear until I could get back to the optometrist's office.
Even though I was with a group of people, I was leading the way and everyone else was looking at the area around us too. I stepped and twisted so quickly, no one had time to react and catch me. They all felt bad; I was humiliated, but nothing was broken and we all survived.
Plenty of other times when I’ve stumbled or tripped or twisted an ankle (you may have correctly surmised by now that neither poise nor balance are my spiritual gifts), someone is there to catch me. My dad, my husband, my son. It’s a simple act. A firm hand on an elbow, arm or waist can steady me enough to regain my balance. Something that hand needs to be quite strong to prevent a fall and the effort becomes a grab or a pull. Other times a touch is all that’s needed to re-center.
Psalms 40:2 in The Passion Translation reads, “He stooped down to lift me out of danger from the desolate pit I was in, out of the muddy mess I had fallen into. Now he’s lifted me up into a firm, secure place and steadied me while I walk along his ascending path.”
In this instance, the fall has already happened, and David is in a dangerous and horrible place, a “desolate pit.” This phrase “muddy mess I had fallen into” tells me this place might be a consequence of David’s poor choices. We know he made his share of bad decisions – adultery, murder, married every girl who looked at him – to name a few. Still, he was a “man after God’s own heart.” (1 Samuel 13:14; Acts 13:22) Even though the pit may have been of David’s own making, God gently but firmly lifts him up from that place. Then with the touch of a loving father, he sets David on a new path, a rock or solid ground, most translations read. He didn’t simply bring David back to a secure place and leave him telling him to do better next time. No, God steadied David while he walked. God walked along with him.
Whether David wrote about a physical pit of desolation and danger or a mental one, I’m not certain. But this I do know, God doesn’t desire to leave us in a place of pain or suffering, even if that place is our choosing. Maybe we’ve gotten ourselves in a real pickle and we can’t see a way out. Our desperation has become overwhelming. Maybe we’re a victim of someone else’s wrongdoing. Maybe we’re in a relational or spiritual rut that’s off center but we don’t know how to make it right. His desire is to lift us from that place -- physically, mentally, emotionally or spiritually – and set us on a firm foundation (His truth, His path), then steady us with the clarity to walk with him.
Read the remainder of Psalms 40. The following verse, verse 3, has been a long favorite of mine:
“He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.” (NIV) Sing a song of thanksgiving to the Lord today for who he is, all he has done, and all the good he has in store for you.
Worship in song or reflect to Jeremy Camp's "Steady Me."