But when I stumbled, they gathered in glee. Psalm 35:15a NIV
My middle brother and I sat on the patio, reliving memories of how much we stumbled during our teenage years.
The 1970s raged, I was a teenager, and most of my friends drank, so I fell into the habit. Every Friday and Saturday night, after going out on the town with my buddies, I’d do a little stumbling into the door of my house.
Mom never went to bed until after I got home, although Dad had been asleep two hours by that time. He left the monitoring up to her. I knew she knew I’d been out partying, but she never said a word—and never told Dad. She didn’t approve, but I suppose she knew I would express my teenage rebellion in one way or another. The next morning, I’d walk straight again.
A little more than a decade later, my middle brother repeated my actions and did a little stumbling himself. Probably more than I did. Once again, Mom kept her mouth shut—to him and to Dad. He, too, would walk straight again the next morning. I suppose Dad went to his grave never knowing about all the stumbling his three sons did. Fortunately, the day came when we learned to walk straight and didn’t need to stumble anymore.
The psalmist doesn’t say why he stumbled—perhaps he sinned or slipped up, too—but his enemies gathered and laughed when he did. So, he turned to God for justice … and compassion.
Stumbling around is a part of life—and not necessarily because we’ve consumed too much alcohol. We’re imperfect human beings. Knowing Christ as our Savior keeps the stumbling to a minimum, but we still wobble occasionally.
We can stumble into times of indecision, confusion, and yes, even disobedience. God doesn’t cast us aside or laugh at us when we do—we’re secure in His hands—but others might deride us, wondering how we could call ourselves a Christian and do such things.
Expecting the occasional stumble helps our emotions take the shock when the stumble comes. We’re clothed in Christ’s righteousness, but our behavior won’t perfectly mimic His until we arrive in heaven.
Praying for guidance also helps when we stumble. If the stumble involves sin, confession and repentance are in order. If not, God is more than willing to guide us to the right decision. His Spirit will speak to our spirit, and we’ll know when we’ve taken the right course.
Trust God to help you walk straight after you’ve stumbled. His love is enough to forgive and restore you.
Prayer: Father, when we stumble in life, steady us with Your omnipotent wisdom.
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