God will never allow the righteous to stumble

I believe that it was yesterday’s readings in the Liturgy of the Hours that I came across this line:

Psalm 55:23;

Cast your care upon the LORD, who will give you support. God will never allow the righteous to stumble.

One might think that this is overly comforting but a lot of nonsense as many of us since our drinking and drugging days have stumbled. Therefore how can this be true? Since we left our addictive living behind, haven’t we stumbled anyway? Therefore, what of this testimony from the Psalmist that God won’t allow us to stumble?

I am uncertain as to the finer theological points explaining this apparent flaw. Maybe there is a flaw in the translation. Another Catholic translation (The Jerusalem Bible) restates this as He will “not allow the virtuous to falter.”

Anyway, regardless of the word, there is an implied confidence that faith in God and in His support will never be for nothing. Perhaps then there is nothing incorrect in using the word “stumble” or “falter”, but in rather who is to blame when we actually do stumble.

Was it that our faith was weak? There had been several times early in my sobriety when I was going to Confession in an attempt to root out sinful behavior, and that behavior still occurred. Who was to blame? God? No, He gave us free will to choose His will or our own. His gift to us to use as our conscience guided us. These behaviors continued and I was going to give up. Praise God I never did, but was given the faith to endure and progress and perhaps quell those sinful behaviors.

And so I stumbled and faltered when my faith was weak. My fault. We too often blame God for our own wrongdoings. “Well,” we say, “I am a believer, I struggle to progress spiritually, why did I stumble? God wasn’t there for me.” Where in fact, it was us who wasn’t there for God. For whatever reason, our faith was lacking, we allowed distractions and other concerns to get in the way of permitting God’s help, we relied on our own means and faltered. We fail to realize that it is a cooperative effort, we place our faith in God, and He rescues us, but He also respects our free will when we drift off and leave His guiding hand behind.

You may stumble, but never fall. As you consciously or unconsciously turned away from His help, you can turn back. “God allows U-turns”, as a bumper sticker on my car says. If we fall, it is only because we failed to turn back to His arms reaching out to grab us.

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"