“Praise our God, O peoples, let the sound of His praise be heard; He has preserved our lives and kept our feet from slipping” (Psalm 66:8, 9)
“Stop!” My husband screamed to my son, as the son kept right on going. We watched in horror as Jamie ran dangerously close around the deep edge of a pond, well beyond our reach. People gasped, others ran after him. I stood frozen and helpless in some kind of a daze.
Jamie was intent on getting to his sister, Chloe, on the other side. He ignored all of our pleadings. He zigzagged along the water’s edge, slipping and falling on the rocks leading right down into a dangerous drop off. His foot was only inches from the water. He teetered and struggled to claw his way back up the jagged rock bed. By the time we reached him, he had crawled his way up the rocks and into Chloe’s waiting arms. We were all shaken in the terror of what could have just happened, but didn’t.
My husband said later, “It was only the hand of God that kept that boy from going in”.
I shuddered at the thought of him sinking beneath the murky water, knowing how quickly we could have lost him. The kids cried all the way home. My daughter had trouble sleeping that night. We were all unsettled by the realization of how close to tragedy we had come.
I prayed with the children and praised God for protecting them. This made me wonder how many other disasters we avert in a day, without even knowing it was His hand that kept us. It’s not until moments like these that we really begin to appreciate that truth.
We live in days of natural disasters and unnatural evils. Disease, accidents, brutality, and death are the daily news feed. Sometimes tragedy does come close to us, into our communities, families, or homes. Sandy Hook, Oklahoma, and Boston are three recent examples of the uncertainty we face each day. But more often, tragedies are far from us. We hear about strangers in distant places. We may hurt for them, support relief efforts, and may even have a mild sense of thankfulness for ourselves. But really, how often do we think on such things? Do we consider the fragility of our lives and really thank God for His daily protection? It is easy to forget. It is more common to live without conscious recognition of His care.
It is only the hand of God that keeps us breathing, living, and safe from drowning in a tragic world. I thank God for His keeping power and the horrific glimpse of reality. I praise the God who preserves our lives and keeps our feet from slipping. Let us be a people who praise Him, even in the tragedies of life. Your witness just may be the saving grace that keeps another foot from falling off the rocky cliff of despair.