I do not like to fall. For numerous, and obvious, reasons whenever there is a situation that exhibits a potential threat of falling I tend to avoid it. You will never see me parachuting out of a plane for recreation. I see no need to bungee jump or ride the amusement park rides designed to give you the feeling of being dropped from great heights. I do not consider feeling like you’re falling to be “fun”.
Fear of falling is one of the two fears we are actually born with, the other is loud noises. From our earliest attempts at walking we learn to keep our head over our feet. We wear protective gear when partaking in activities which may lead to falling. We hold hand rails on stairs, brace ourselves if we feel unstable and instinctively flail our arms and contort our torsos in attempt to regain our balance if we think we are about to fall. A lot of time and effort is put into the avoidance of falling and its affects.
Sliding, on the other hand, is an entirely different story. I am sure I am not the only one who does NOT fear sliding. Sliding is easy and fun! We are taught this at playgrounds as children. Water parks and snow covered hills are packed with sliders each season. It is an efficient way to get from one point to another. Sliding is gentle, smooth, fast and easy to do.
I attended a beautiful wedding the other day. The reception facility was a lovely country club. A huge curving staircase rose up on both sides of the foyer leading to the dining area. Oddly enough as I began to exit the building I felt an intense desire to slide down the wide oak railing which ended in tight curl at the base, perfect for making a graceful stop at the end of my slide. Ultimately, after contimplating the logistics, I chose to exit the facility like a grown up and walked as lady like as possible down the elegant stairway. Only two things prevented me from giving into my sliding nature. One, I was wearing a dress and two; the rail was adorned with pretty white netting and flowers. I suspect the later was done not just for décor, but to dissuade others like myself from giving into the temptation to slide. I must admit that as I passed the last foot of railing I envisioned hoisting my hip up on it for just a short slide, but I resisted.
I believe it is a part of the nature of man to slide. I am not the only one who thinks this is true. Here in Washington D.C. the metro system designers recognize man’s temptation to slide. One particular metro stop is located far below street level. This requires a rather long steep escalator to transport riders up and down. A three foot section of metal separates the two opposing escalators. While I am sure no one would consider shinnying “up” the steep slope, no doubt the slide down would be much faster and more exciting than the crowded, trudging escalator. In answer to man’s unspoken temptation to slide, metro strategically placed rather inhospitable looking “bumps” along its tempting expanse. Yes, when it comes to sliding we rely on others to place impediment in our way. If left unto ourselves we would be more inclined to slide, than to not slide. This is something we should keep in mind when considering our spiritual journey.
We often carefully guard against falling away from God, but do little to protect ourselves from the temptation to slide. Unlike the metro or country club staircase, we do not have anything in our path to prevent the quick, smooth seemingly effortless slide away from Truth and God. Neglecting Bible study, relegating prayer to meal time only and avoiding fellowship with other believers are just a few of the ways we slowly create a buffer between ourselves and the God who desires to be close to us. If the city of D.C. can anticipate man’s nature to slide, I should too.
Psalm 105:1-4 gives us several “bumps” we can install in our daily walk to discourage sliding away. “Oh give thanks to the Lord, call on His name; Make known His deeds among the peoples. Sing to Him, sing praises to Him; Speak of all His wonders. Glory in His Holy name; Let the heart of those who seek the Lord be glad. Seek the Lord and all His strength; Seek His face continually.”