Monday, June 30, 2014

For When We Stumble

By Roxann Morgan 
...But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up (Ecclesiastes 4:10).
I walked into the kitchen bogged down by my many thoughts then I realized it was June 10.  I realized 16 days after my 11th anniversary that I had missed the day I would celebrate my coming into salvation.
I've never missed this day before. It was always at the forefront of my mind, and I would sometimes even have a countdown. But I missed it this year. I was so weighed down with worry because of my struggle with sin that I forgot the anniversary.
As I walked into the kitchen, I felt ridiculously foolish. Foolish for forgetting. Foolish for always failing. Foolish for failing and then flailing my heart with harsh words and accusations. And then He spoke. He said, “When a child is learning to walk there are usually multiple falls.”

I sighed. I really don't want multiple falls. At 11 years old I should be standing steadily on my own two feet and walking with my head held high because I can (I should be able to) confidently handle the long journey and obstacles.
But that's not what happens even while walking this earth, is it?
I distinctly remember falling many times in my teens, tripping over the edge of my skirt in my early 20s and tumbling down a flight of stairs (in stilettos!) in my mid 20s. And I know that I tripped many times after that. In fact, I’m still stumbling at 31. So why do I continue to whip myself with condemnation at 11 years old in Christendom?
My dear children, let’s not just talk about love; let’s practice real love. This is the only way we’ll know we’re living truly, living in God’s reality. It’s also the way to shut down debilitating self-criticism, even when there is something to it. For God is greater than our worried hearts and knows more about us than we do ourselves (1 John 3:18-20 MSG).
The truth is, I’m not as merciful to myself as He is to me. I often refuse help and think it is justified punishment to deny myself His grace. But He wants repentance when I fall; He doesn’t want self-condemnation (1 John 1:8-10). He wants me to go to Him and confess and receive His grace, not run from Him and hide beneath my makeshift sin covering. 
That’s what started this downhill journey into sin in the garden in the first place. He wants me to trust that He loves me and is able to rescue me from sin. He did the work (Revelation 1:5).
My conversation with the Lord continued.

When a child falls doesn't the parent rush to check for wounds and tenderly attends to the child?
Yes, Lord. They do. Good parents do.
So, why would I be any different with you?

But, God, I'm 11. I am 11 years old! I should be walking by now. I should be running confidently. Less trips, more steadiness. My legs shouldn't wobble, and I should be able to stand. I should be...I should be self-confident.
But is that what I want?
Is that really what He wants from His children?
He's not expecting self-confident strides. Yes, He expects growth and He brings growth and will continue to. But He wants dependence because He knows how we are. He knows that we are weak; He remembers that we are just dust (Psalm 103:14). He knows we will trip every now and then (sometimes even regularly) over the "edge" of our flesh (Romans 7:21), so He wants us to depend on Him completely for our good and for His glory.

He knows this road. He knows that it's those who are led by His Spirit that walk this road to the end and emerge as conquerors (
Romans 8:14). It's not the self-confident, trust-your-gut-feeling, walk-like-you-own-it people who win this race. It's the dependent-on-grace, always-leaning-on-Him, eyes-fixed-on-His, God-confident people who endure to the end and see His face.

He knows this so well. He has walked this road before. He was tempted as we are and He overcame, He is touched with the feelings of our infirmities—our weaknesses and our testing (
Hebrews 4:15). He knows this race and He already won; He won this race for us. We have the advantage; He already trampled and thoroughly defeated the enemy! (Colossians 2:15)

He wants us to know that if we trip, whether we are 11 or 70, He is right there to catch us.

He wants us to know that these weak legs become stronger with time spent in Him, and soon we won't trip over the same sin all time.

He wants us to abide in His love for us (1 John 4:16).

He wants us to know that He is able to keep us from falling...from falling and shattering...from falling and being crippled by fear...from falling away.

He IS able. He wants us to know that a day is coming when all this will be done away with, and we will be spotless, we will be presented as pure and clean (
Jude 24).

I'm Roxann and I'm only 11. But my Daddy, my awesome Father, He IS eternal and He makes everything new
(Revelation 21:5).

For as high as the heavens are above the earth, So great is His loving-kindness toward those who fear Him. As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. Just as a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him. For He Himself knows our frame; He is mindful that we are but dust (Psalm 103:11-14 NASB).

Lord, Thank You for Your faithfulness. When we are faithless You remain faithful. When we stumble You are able to catch us. You are also able to keep us from falling. We could not and cannot save ourselves so You did it for us. We commit ourselves to You, all our times are in Your hands. Please help us to trust You with our lives. In Jesus' name we pray. 

Amen.

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