Echoes From the Campfire

Meanness can buck me off, but only death can keep me from crawlin’ back up in the saddle.”
              –Stephen Bly  (The Long Trail Home)

    “Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble.”
              –2 Peter 1:10 (NKJV)
I can remember it well; I was walking not far behind him when all of a sudden the colleague went face-forward.  He fell flat on flat on his face.  Fortunately, no bones were broken, but blood was coming from his mouth and nose.  We have all taken tumbles and sometimes have fallen smack-dab on our face or the reverse.  There was no real reason I could see that he should fall, then I found out that he had an old injury that caused his knees to give out.
    What is it that makes a person stumble?  I mean to flat out fall down.  It may be that they do not pay attention, it may be from a previous injury, it may even be that someone else caused it.  We read in Ezekiel that “idols set up in the heart” causes men to stumble (14:3)  There may be a combination of things; things of which we should be aware of but didn’t pay attention to.  A few weeks back, if you recall, I mentioned that I fell.  I had been working, sawing some wood and was overheated–didn’t pay attention or follow the proper procedure of keeping hydrated.  I got up too quickly–didn’t take it slow and easy.  I didn’t look down and my boot caught the edge of the patio stone–didn’t pick up my feet, the dummy.  Plus the fact that it was very hot.  You add these all together and you have a cause to fall.
    I have known people to fall off roofs, to fall off ladders, stools, and chairs.  Most of these incidents/accidents most likely could have been avoided by taking better precaution.  Let me relate something that happened to me.  I was painting the underside of an eave on the church roof.  The ladder was almost straight up.  As I climbed I thought what happens if this ladder falls?  I had a plan.  Maybe I shouldn’t have thought about it, but the ladder fell, with me riding it down.  I flung the paint can out in the street, and thought to myself that I had to place my hands between the steps on the ladder and not underneath (amazing what a person can think of in less than a second).  No damage to me, some paint on the carpet in front of the church and a big splash out in the middle of the street.  Hmmm, since then I have been cautious of heights.
    How many have slipped?  I can remember slipping many times on the icy sidewalks and streets during a cold spell when I was a kid.  Sometimes it was from horseplay, sometimes it just happened.  The worse slip I can recall, was the time I had just cleaned up the garage and cleaned the floor with bleach.  I forgot that bleach is slick.  I came back in the garage, not thinking, and all of a sudden my feet went up in the air.  I remember trying to catch myself, (too bad someone didn’t have a video), but there I went – SPLAT!  I wasn’t hurt, thank the Lord, but it could have been very dangerous.  Sin is like that, one slip can spell disaster–remember Achan.
    Then there are the times we stumble.  Have you noticed that we rarely stumble going uphill?  I recall two occasions when I stumbled, hit the ground, and continued to roll.  Once was when I was jogging down a mountain path.  Again, not paying close attention by foot caught a rock or root and there I went, on down the path and over the side.  Again nothing serious, just some scrapes and scratches.  The other time was in elementary school and for some reason I missed the step or slipped on a step and went down a dozen or so steps.  In these cases one can’t stop themselves as momentum builds up.  Sin is the same way, if we stumble, often the momentum carries us down further and further.
    Now, stop and ponder–how do these relate to my spiritual walk?  Do we not pay attention to things and become nonchalant and lackadaisical?  Do we not pick up our feet and begin to shuffle in our walk with the Lord?  Have we become careless in what we are doing, in our walk, in our spiritual exercises?  Did we fall because we did not take proper precaution?  Maybe the fall came about because we did something wrong.  There was a time I was riding my bike down a hill holding a sack of groceries.  Something, I don’t recall what, made me grab the brake.  It was a three-speed with hand brakes.  The brake I gripped was the front brake and over the handlebars I flew, groceries and all and skidded down the road a few yards.  Lesson learned:  hold the sack in the other arm.  
    Falls, slips, tumbles, and stumbles are bound to happen.  We need to be in the Word of God to help us; that became the conclusion of the writer of Psalm 119, “Great peace have those who love Your law, And nothing causes them to stumble.” (14 NKJV)  Be alert, be aware, be cautious, be knowledgeable be in the Word of God and let Jesus help you up. Now, get back up, dust yourself off, and get going–again!