To Keep You From Stumbling

  • Friday, February 19, 2010

  • "These things I have spoken to you so that you may be kept from stumbling." John 16:1

    Former confidence and heady optimism were suddenly draining and anxiety was taking its place in their hearts. All their hopes had been pinned on Jesus...that He was the Messiah...that He was the promised King...that His kingdom would soon be revealed...that all the sacrifices they had made were about to be rewarded.

    Confidence was high and optimism was off the charts! Heading into that evening of feasting and fellowship, the greatest concern on the minds of the disciples centered on the question of which ones were about to be given the positions of honor. Confidence was high and optimism was off the charts! But to be forewarned is to be prepared...

    Who will ever forget the anguish of Dan Jansen's fall in the 500 meter race he had promised to win for his sister who had died of cancer just prior to the event? Or the euphoric rush of final redemption when, 6 years later, he bows for the placing of the gold medal around his neck?

    "There was one more shot. It didn't seem like a good one. Jansen's specialty was the 500, not the 1,000. He had never finished better than 16th in his three previous Olympics. But when a burst of adrenaline surged through his body before the start, he said he knew he was ready. At 600 meters Jansen was ahead of world record pace. But, again, as the final turns were approaching, Jansen slipped. He was within one inch of hitting a lane divider and falling. Somehow, he regained his balance, sprinted to the finish and crossed in a stunning world record time. Reports from Lillehammer say that his rivals cheered when his time flashed on the board. 'There were no Norwegians, Dutch Americans or people of other nationalities among the spectators, only fans of Dan Jansen,' said the Official Report of the 1994 Olympics. You know the rest. Minutes after saluting the sky in honor of his late sister, Jane, Jansen took a victory lap with his 8-month old daughter of the same name."

    An unbearable stumble...and unforgettable redemption. The things of which legends are made!

    Or the saga Lindsey Jacobellis' crash while "hot-dogging" in celebration of certain victory four years ago. And then this week, on the final leg of her road to redemption, to land off-balance, hit a gate and disqualify herself from the race?

    Stumbling. Coming up short. Failing to fulfill the dream. The things of which legends are made.

    Confidence was high and optimism was off the charts!

    Though the revelation that from His departing (a plan of the Father's from the beginning but not previously comprehended by the disciples) would flow many blessings, the very idea of His leaving them brought an unsettled spirit to their hearts. And when He had changed the subject from a review of those multiplied blessings and shifted their attention to the persecution soon to come, confidence and optimism drained away. Observing their fallen countenances, Jesus says, "Sorrow has filled your heart."

    Opportunities for stumbling are abundant. But knowing our frailty, Jesus speaks encouragement in order that our falling will not become the thing of which legends are made!

    "These things I have spoken to you so that you may be kept from stumbling" John 16:1. To be forewarned is to be prepared.


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