Toby Mac is a Christian artist, but he also has some pretty profound posts which appear periodically on my Facebook feed. This weekend one came across I'd like to share: "Being defeated is often a temporary condition. Giving up is what makes it permanent." I once heard it said a stepping stone is a great thing until it becomes the thing we stumble over. Someone once told me it is pretty doggone hard to actually fall down until you are willing to get up. In other words, you cannot just sit there and actually get anywhere - sometimes it takes a few stumbles, downright falls, and a hand to help you up to get you to the next destination in life!
Two are better than one because a good return comes when two work together. If one of them falls, the other can help him up. But who will help the pitiful person who falls down alone? In the same way, if two lie down together, they can keep each other warm. But how will the one who sleeps alone stay warm against the night? And if one person is vulnerable to attack, two can drive the attacker away. As the saying goes, “A rope made of three strands is not quickly broken.” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 VOICE)
Falling alone is not an option! Not even walking at all is also not an option! We have been given all things in this life which will help us "walk well", we just have a few stumbling blocks to get past on occasion - sometimes we do this pretty well, other times we need a helping hand to pick us up when we fall. If there is one thing I know for sure it is the fact NONE of us is without stumbling in our lives! What? You say you don't stumble? Well, let me just point out some of us may have learned to do it a little more "gracefully" than others, but we still stumble!
You've probably heard that quip, "what doesn't kill us will make us strong", but I think sometimes the things we stumble over which leave us "wounded" or "hurt" are more damaging than the things which come against us to all out kill us! We get battered and bruised with each stumble - emotionally, spiritually, in relationships. These hurts just get bandaged up, or even ignored. There are even times when we just leave them "open to air", allowing those wounds to fester and get their "nastiness" onto others around us. Either way, they don't get the attention they need and the hurt just keeps on hurting.
Have you ever smacked your shin bone a good one on something just the right height to collide with it? Yep, you read that one right - I said the object was the one who collided with you, not the other way around. I think this is how we view stumbling blocks sometimes - as rising up in our path, just to give us grief and misery in our lives. The issue isn't their presence, it is our inattention to avoiding them! The object we smack our shin upon didn't just rise up from the earth one day as we were walking past. It was the coffee table in the middle of the room for the past ten years!
There are things we stumble over in life which have been in the center of our lives for so long, we just grow accustomed to them until one day they become the thing we stumble over. We are left with hurt after colliding with what had for so long been ignored! Then we wonder why it hurt us! Truth is, if we hadn't of ignored the presence of the thing we stumbled on for so long, it may not have been there for us to stumble on it in the first place. This may be just the reason we need others in our lives - to help us recognize the things which can make us stumble in life - the things we have grown so comfortable with just "tolerating" in our path.
As I assess the safety of a person's home after they may have taken a fall and hurt themselves, I look for objects upon which they might stumble and fall. Throw rugs are removed, coffee tables are out of the question, and poorly fitting shoes are simply not tolerated. Why? They are all obvious reasons for someone to stumble or get hurt. Removing obstacles is only one way of avoiding hurt, but it isn't the only way. I also remind the person to use good judgment - put on the lights, use their cane, get a portable phone which can stay with them when they move around the house, etc. What am I doing? I am preparing them for success - not by telling them to stay confined to their bed so they don't fall again, but by helping them learn to walk within the boundaries of safety!
Many of us lack the closeness of anyone who can speak into our lives so we stop stumbling over the same obstacles in our path time and time again. We haven't been close enough to anyone, or genuine enough with them to actually allow them to help us when we stumble. We are missing out when we live in such a way. To stumble is one thing - to stay down is another. To walk alone is quite another. Just sayin!