Wednesday, March 2

When the Wise Stumble

Some of the wise will stumble, so that they may be refined, purified, and made spotless until the time of the end, for it will still come at the appointed time. --Daniel 11:35

Everything we do or say results in consequences. Our words and actions trigger a series of events that can be good or bad depending on the initial motives. It is all to easy for us to become puffed up in our own way of thinking, which leads us to believe that we are the ones who are in control. There are times when God chooses to humble each of us to a certain extent. How we respond to those times determines how our faith develops.

Even the best of us have an "off" day every now and then. It's part of being human. Whether the source of your bad day is something relatively trivial that will quickly be forgotten, or some snowballing consequences of a bad decision, God can use that circumstance to teach valuable lessons.

It's sort of like that old saying "we learn from our mistakes." When we stumble in our faith, it might serve to remind us that we need to trust God more completely, or learn to trust him for different things. Even if our knees are bruised and swollen from all the times we've fallen, God is still there extending his hand to help us stand up again. He can give us the strength we need to get back up and take another step. Such an image makes me think of a portion of one of DC Talk's songs that asks "what if I stumble, what if I fall? What if I lose my step and I make fools of us all? Will the love continue when the walk becomes a crawl?"

According to this verse, the love does continue when the walk becomes a crawl. When we're in that humbled and humiliated position, God allows us to see things from a new perspective. That new perspective softens our hearts, allowing God to refine and purify us. From our new vantage point, we begin to see why we stumbled in the first place. We need to come before God in prayer and ask him to identify the source of our downfall, and then teach us how not to trip over ourselves again.

There is no limit to the number of second chances God gives us. Each time we stumble, we can ask God to help us up again and again. Numerous times each day, we are given a fresh start at following him. Each time we stumble, God seizes the opportunity to use the experience to purify and refine us, ultimately making us more like himself in the process.

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