Last Saturday I rushed my wife to the emergency room. We thought something was wrong with her heart, but thankfully it turned out to be nothing serious. They ran some lab tests while we waited in a little room in the bowels of the ER. As the minutes slowly passed, I noticed that the ER was filling up. It got so full that they were placing patients on gurneys in the hallway. One elderly woman caught my attention. She was an elegant lady with pure white hair. She was dressed in navy blue slacks with a cream colored blouse. She looked regal except for the ugly diagonal gash across the bridge of her nose and a purple lump above her right eye. I suspected she had fallen. I was right. A nurse eventually stopped by and asked her some medical questions. One question and response caught my attention.
“Do you use a cane to get around?” the nurse asked.
“No, and I do not intend to,” said the elderly woman. “This is the first time I have fallen. I was getting out of the car and I just got in too much hurry.”
This won’t be the last time she falls, I thought to myself. You see, falling is one of the biggest hazards for the elderly. The young can trip and fall, flail around, and bounce back with nary a scratch or bruise. Not so with the brittle elderly. Simple falls can be life-threatening for older folk. My aunt fell and broke her hip. The pain and after-effects of surgery killed her. Aging diminishes our sense of balance and this increases the likelihood of falling.
Now don’t get me wrong, I admire the generation that came before me. They had a grit and toughness that subsequent generations lack. Unfortunately, a byproduct of that toughness is pride. Now the way I see it, wisdom is way more valuable than toughness or pride, even if it’s just the wisdom to use a cane to help us keep our balance. Lately, I think of my Bible somewhat like a cane. But what is the Bible, really? It has been called a manual for living, a moral code, a love letter from God, a history document, a map to salvation and many other things.
Many people who love the Bible might abhor the notion that the Bible is a crutch, which is exactly what a cane is. I wonder . . . does the use of a cane imply weakness? Perhaps to some! To me it reveals the heart of a person willing to examine their life and embrace the reality of needing assistance. Pride obscures our ability to see ourselves as we really are—weak, frail, unbalanced. Like that old saying: pride goes before a fall.
So I’m okay with it, with using my Bible like a cane. The world can mock me, call me weak-minded. Fine! At least I’m willing to face the truth about my spiritual handicap, and the Bible is the perfect prosthesis to help keep my balance . . . and Lord knows I’m unbalanced (joking, sort of). The Bible doesn’t answer all my questions. Nevertheless, it protects me from the big hazards, but only if I use it.