Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Shaky footing

From time to time I like to share a quote I come across that speaks to me. Today, I will share one that we all need to learn well: "The past always looks better than it was. It's only pleasant because it isn't here." (Finley Peter Dunne) It was Henry Ford who reminded us that failure was just an opportunity to begin again, wasn't it? The past looks so good because we are probably busy finding ways to fail anew right now! As long as we are still on this earth, we are going to know times of failure - of unpleasant endings to what we hoped would end a little better. We didn't count the cost well - we didn't consider the outcome before we took the leap. The past looks good only to those who don't remember the pain of the failure!

Test yourselves to make sure you are solid in the faith. Don’t drift along taking everything for granted. Give yourselves regular checkups. You need firsthand evidence, not mere hearsay, that Jesus Christ is in you. Test it out. If you fail the test, do something about it. I hope the test won’t show that we have failed. But if it comes to that, we’d rather the test showed our failure than yours. We’re rooting for the truth to win out in you. We couldn’t possibly do otherwise. We don’t just put up with our limitations; we celebrate them, and then go on to celebrate every strength, every triumph of the truth in you. We pray hard that it will all come together in your lives. (2 Corinthians 13:6-8 MSG)

Solid isn't deemed solid until it is put to the test. I have cautiously taken that first step out onto suspension bridges spanning drops so great I could not estimate the distance. The second step comes with a little more bravado, and then a little bit of the bridge's board crumbles upon your third step, and you feel that moment of panic! The first two steps may have been called 'solid', but that third one undid all you believed about the bridge! Your footing is less that secure at that point and you almost find yourself taking a step back. Why? You return to where you knew there was solid footing because you felt more secure there. If you have ever lived in icy regions, you know there is just a fine line between 'firmly frozen' and 'unstable ice'. There is a huge difference in where one stands or ventures between the two! 

We all need regular checkups where it applies to our spiritual health, my friends. We get off on not so solid footing from time to time - because we have a tendency to allow a little drift due to our inattentiveness. The thing about the suspension bridge or the icy crossing is that we are forced to test what it is we are placing our trust in all the time. Each step requires our intense concentration - we really cannot just stop to enjoy the thing around us. If we are a little easier path, we might not pay as close attention, allowing our thoughts to drift and our focus to be less intense. Speaking as one who has come up a few times a little bruised and battered by that one, let me just say we might not realize the unevenness of the path or that we have veered a little askew of straight!

The truth winning out in us isn't the result of a one time test - it is the result of being aware of our footing along the way. We don't lose focus - we don't need to 'reset' our course. Yet, if we have lost our course, it is easy enough to 'reset'. This thing called grace is actually a great 'reset' point in life. We lay hold of grace, it lays hold of us, and we get pulled back to firm footing time after time again! The truth is that our footing isn't going to always be solid. When we need that 'reset' in life, we might find we look back and think it wasn't all that bad 'back there', but we soon forget just how shaky that footing was! Just sayin!