I was raised to hold my head up and not slouch, a sign of being proud of who I was. I learned to walk that way as well, with the library book balanced on my head- really. So occasionally I trip over cracks in the sidewalk, or bumps, or thresholds.
My husband used to grouse, “Look down at your feet and you won’t stumble so much.” But then I’d miss so much if I always concentrated on my feet. I might miss a squirrel scampering to a tree or a butterfly flit by with its wings shining in the sunlight. Besides, always looking down at my feet is to be downcast- sullen and introverted. In essence, neither is the right way to walk.
So I have learned to look slightly ahead. That way I can have confidence, and anticipate what is coming in the next few steps, good or bad.
Sunday, the prayer in church was this – “Almighty and Merciful God, grant that we may run without stumbling to obtain your heavenly promises. . .” That comes from Proverbs 4:12
There are a lot of references to stumbling in the Bible, mostly it is stumbling over God’s law or Truth. But there are things of this world which can make us trip in our walk- temptations, doubt, fear. Christ is the stone that make men stumble and the rock that make men fall (1 Peter2:8). But the Psalms say God can place us on heights where we are as surefooted as the deer, and where we won’t stumble, no matter what lies in our path.
As Christians, we are to walk in this world and be Christ’s hands and feet. We shouldn’t be over proud or live in a fantasy world with our heads in the clouds, yet we shouldn’t let things weigh us down to where all we can see is the ground beneath our feet. Either way keeps us from seeing the little wonders which He has bestowed upon us. Trusting in God’s ways and Truth means we need only look ahead, just a little. We don’t know need to know what is far down the road. That is in God’s hands. We see only what His Light illuminates as we walk, so we don’t stumble. Yet, as humans, we still do, right?
We all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check. James3:2 . We know there is only one perfect man- Jesus.
So, when something this life does trip us up, His loving arms will be there extended to catch us. And even if we don’t grab hold of Him and scrape our knees or elbows on the ways of the world, we can call on Him to tend to our wounds. He will never give up on us. HE will even use that stumble as a lesson to call us back to His side.
Did God’s people stumble and fall beyond recovery? Of course not! They were disobedient, so God made salvation available to the Gentiles. But he wanted his own people to become jealous and claim it for themselves. Romans 11:11
So go on – run towards His Heavenly promise the way the prodigal son ran towards his father. He will guide your path step by step. And is you do trip a bit, call out to Jesus.