When this trial dropped like a bomb on our lives this past summer, it was shocking, painful, and disorienting. Slander and false accusations flew at us from all sides, shrapnel raining down on our entire family. I struggled to get my bearings in a haze of questions and grief. I rushed for cover in the Psalms. I guarded my soul with sermons and hymns. And I sought God for a path forward through this trial that would bring glory to my Savior.
Even though there was so much I didn’t understand at first, I knew from Scripture that there was one thing I must not do. I must not retaliate. I must not return evil for evil, but entrust my soul and our reputation to my faithful Creator (1 Pet. 4:19). Here was a place to simply stand.
Martyn-Lloyd Jones calls this “getting a foothold.” It is what Asaph resolved in Psalm 73 when he was downcast and perplexed and his “feet had almost stumbled” (v. 2). He simply resolved not to sin with his mouth: “If I had said, ‘I will speak thus,’ I would have betrayed the generation of your children” (v. 15)
“He held on to what he was certain of, and he held on at all costs,” explains Lloyd-Jones:
“About his main problem he was very uncertain; he could not understand that at all. Even after he had pulled himself up, it still puzzled him…But having looked at the thing again, he realized that if he were to speak as he was tempted to speak, the immediate consequences would be that he would be the cause of offense to God’s people, and he held on to that fact” (Faith on Trial, p. 38)
When trial or temptation suddenly invades our lives, we may be knocked off our feet by the blast. The first thing we must do is simply stand—stand on God’s Word and determine what we must do, or not do, in obedience to Him. We must not despise the day of small beginnings, urges Dr. Lloyd Jones. For this is “the way in which the Psalmist managed to steady himself and arrive back eventually at such a great and firm position of faith” (p. 31).
God had much more to teach me in the weeks to follow in this trial. But it began by simply “getting a foothold.” May God help us all to stand, and eventually arrive again at a mountaintop of faith.