By WALTER ALBRITTON
Every 17 seconds an older adult is treated in a hospital emergency room for injuries related to a fall. Every 30 minutes an older adult dies from injuries caused by a fall. You guessed it: Falls are the leading cause of injuries for adults age 65 and older in our nation. In the year 2020, the cost of fall injuries in the United States reached $55 billion. That explains why the good doctor who cares for me always cautions me to be careful not to fall. He knows that my wife, at age 88, fell, broke her hip and was dead six weeks later.
Because older adults are aware that falls can result in serious injuries, fear of falling can add to the challenging problems of old age. This fear leads some people to restrict their social life, thereby affecting their quality of life. “People need people,” so yielding to fear and “staying home” can compound the problems of the aging.
As I have grown older, my balance has eroded gradually. Evidently this is a natural result of aging. So now, age 90, my equilibrium reminds me constantly that I am a high risk for falling. Whether my loss of balance is a precursor to a more serious health problem remains to be seen. In the meantime, I will diligently try to avoid falling and injuring myself.
When it comes to falling, as a preacher I have over the years warned others to guard against falling from grace and falling into sin. All of us who have chosen to follow Christ face the risk of backsliding. We keep our guard up best by studying God’s word and diligently seeking to obey our Lord’s teachings. When Jesus instructed his disciples to “go and make disciples,” he also admonished them to teach new disciples to “obey everything he had commanded them.” So the way to avoid falling from grace is to continually obey our Lord Jesus.
In his little letter of only 25 verses, Jude pleads with believers to guard carefully the faith and not allow false teachers to lead them astray. He urges them to “contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.” His words are a timely warning for our own generation. Prominent leaders in our nation, and in the church as well, are insisting that the fundamental moral laws of the Bible need to be “updated” to make sexual perversion acceptable. We should all pray for God to give us the wisdom not to “fall” for this rebellion against biblical truth.
The final two verses of Jude’s letter have become one of my favorite benedictions. No modern translation has improved the way I learned it in the King James Version: 24 Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, 25 To the only wise God our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever. Amen.
Except for the grace of God, all of us would be beguiled by the devil into “falling” away from the truth. But Jude reminds us that our God is able to keep us from falling — if we persevere in the faith and refuse to let it be watered down by public opinion. And Jude gives us the beautiful idea that despite our sins, God will one day allow us to appear in his presence “faultless,” and with great joy!
Until then, we shall be wise to vigorously keep the faith, grow in our understanding of it and endeavor to “keep ourselves in the love of God” by every means of grace available to us. God’s moral laws have not been given to us so we might amend them, but keep them, for our good and so that those who are lost may have an example of how God wants people to live until Christ returns to judge the world.
Pause for a moment and thankfully celebrate the wonderful truth that God can keep you from falling! Trust Him to do it until at last you fall into His arms.