“The Lord upholds all who are falling and raises up all who are bowed down.” Psalm 145:14
David Ireland was married to a wonderful woman and desperately wanted to start a family with her. Soon after learning that his wife was indeed pregnant, David received a very troubling diagnosis. He was suffering from the advanced stages of ALS, or as it is commonly known, Lou Gehrig’s disease.
It slowly sapped his strength and physical ability, and David began deteriorating very quickly. His worst fear was that he would pass away before his baby arrived and before he had a chance to give him fatherly instruction and care. As a result, David began writing letters to his unborn child in order to let him know how much he loved him and to instill in him what was important and cherished in David’s life and experience.
In one of his letters, David is trying to communicate to his son what an incredible woman his mother is. He writes that describing a typical venture out to dinner at restaurant will show just what a wonderful person she really is. He tells in detail the process of her bathing him, dressing him, placing him in his wheelchair, opening the car door, loading him into his seat, folding up his chair, putting it in the back of the van, driving to the restaurant.
Once in the parking lot, the process is reversed just to get inside and sit at the table. As they are eating dinner, David describes how she feeds him his dinner, wipes the drool off of his face, empties his waste bags, pays the check, and loads him back into the van to drive home. Once they are back at home, she engages the unloading process just to get inside.
She bathes him, puts his pajamas on, and lays him in the bed. Ireland writes that his wife’s last words to him as she is kissing him on the cheek and wishing him a good night are “David, thank you for taking me out to dinner!”
Because words from the Bible often wash over us, become too familiar, and get dull, David Ireland’s description of his wonderful wife help us to understand what God is like - how he treats us with patience, kindness, incessant service, and limitless love.
Psalm 145:14 reminds us that “the Lord upholds all who are falling” and “raises up all who are bowed down”. Existing with such an extreme amount of need for help as Ireland experienced in the midst of his disease is, frankly, terrifying for us. We never would want to experience such humbling debilitation. However, it is in the midst of our helplessness, our falling, and our being bowed down that we experience the upholding grace and resurrecting power of the LORD.
When you find yourself weighed down with concern and confusion today, burdened with a new sense of weakness and anxiety, and doubled over by struggles and sin, remember that however low you feel or however low you have fallen, you are never below the reach of God’s helping, raising hand. He is able and willing to raise you up and “present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy” (Jude 24-25).