Unstable Stability

One day at lunchtime I was driving to a nearby fast-food restaurant. I was stopped at the red light in a two-lane turn. Three cars ahead, in the middle of the two lanes, there was a man on a bicycle. From his appearance, I assumed he was probably homeless. He was disheveled – his clothes worn and his slip-on shoes oversized. His bicycle was rusted and a bit too small for an adult.

Rather than place a foot on the ground while waiting for the light to change, he had placed his hand on the side of a van for balance. The way he was positioned, I imagined he was in the driver’s blind spot – the driver having no idea that his vehicle was being used as a means of support and stability. Understanding the scenario, I chuckled and mused out loud, “I hope that van doesn’t move.”

As soon as the words left my lips, the light turned green and the van began to pull forward into its turn. Unfortunately, the man, who had been distracted by the car on the other side of him, was not prepared for the movement. As the van left his reach he lost his stability and began to fall – in slow motion – to the ground.  Instinctively he wrestled to re-establish his balance, planting his left foot firmly on the ground while trying to lift the bike back to an upright position.

But as he struggled to regain control, his right shoe slipped off his foot. Now trying to retrieve his shoe by stretching his leg out and attempting to slip his foot back in, he abandoned his attempt to steady the bike. Within seconds he was sitting on the ground with his left leg pinned beneath the bike. Stretching his arm over the bike to grab his shoe, and aware that he was blocking traffic, I sensed his desperate desire to be on his feet again and on his way.

Recalling that incident I’m reminded of our attempts to find stability in life – striving for footing that won’t fail us, support that won’t shift. We place confidence in plans or possessions or people, only to find our stability can in an instant become unstable. Plans can fall through, possessions can be lost, and people can depart – either by choice or by fate.

I’ve learned over the years that true stability must come from a source that never shifts, never moves, never departs. I have found my stability in a faithful and trustworthy Heavenly Father. To be clear, a life of faith in God is not without its challenges. I’m human – circumstances still shake me, problems can impact me, but I live with the confidence that my foundation – my hope, my support, my help – will never fail me.

In an unstable world, God promises to be the stability we need, simply for the asking.