How did I get like this?
I find myself facing heavenward, flat on my back across a small rockery that adjoins the front wall of our house. Inches away from me, across some gravel, stand several dustbins into which I have just deposited various items of household waste. They are screened from any passing pedestrians and drivers by two very tall leafy bushes now in their full summer foliage. As I had turned suddenly to go back indoors, while off-balance, I had caught my toe on one of the rockery stones and had fallen backwards.
There’s no-one at home in the two closest neighbouring houses to see my parlous state because they’ve all gone off to work and their children are already in school.
Why I’m laughing helplessly
One reason that I am ‘enjoying the trip’ is because I am wearing a new, dark blue T-shirt which carries a message in large yellow capital letters:
I DO ALL MY OWN STUNTS
BUT NOT INTENTIONALLY.
And between the two statements is a line of cartoon illustrations of potential mishaps, such as a loose rock that’s about to drop
An audience of angels
Although no human eye can see me, the front of my chest is fully exposed to the gaze of angels. And I have been a lifelong, avid student of the Bible. I can recall immediately a few verses from the book of Psalms I’ve known from my childhood that assure me about God, that:
‘He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.
They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone‘
(Psalm 91:11-12 King James Version).
I also remember that:
‘He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh’ (Psalm 2:4a KJV).
So, what were the angels up to that morning when I literally caught my foot against a stone?
I rolled onto my aged hands and knees. One good press up got me onto my feet. I went indoors to tell my wife of my amusing mishap.
On resuming my mental Bible study I also recalled that Satan himself had quoted those very verses from Psalm 91 to Jesus at the end of his forty-day fast in the seclusion of a desert. He urged the Son of God to test the reliability of Psalm 91 by deliberately throwing himself down from a great height In such a situation would the promise apply that God ‘shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou shalt dash thy foot against a stone’ (Matthew 4:6 KJV)? Of course not!
Becoming intentionally airborne and earth-bound without a parachute was never a stunt in Messiah’s God-given schedule. God’s promise ‘to keep thee in all thy ways’ did not include showing off spectacularly.
But in my situation, I guess that those angelic first-aiders were not given an emergency call-out to prevent my slight mishap. Nor did my heavenly Father laugh. In Psalm 2 he laughs in derision at such intentional stupid posturing that the devil was urging Jesus to perform. But in my minor predicament I am sure that the Father who (Jesus told us) nestles any fallen sparrow must surely have smiled as I returned indoors unhurt to tell my humorous tale.
* Take care at all times;
* Don’t presume foolishly on angelic intervention; and (as T-shirts used to advise observers)
* ‘Smile, Jesus loves you’!