"'A stone that causes people to stumble and a rock that makes them fall.' They stumble because they disobey. . . ." - 1 Peter 2:8
Sometimes people can have totally different reactions to similar circumstances or events.
We used to know two elderly women who had similar experiences: both had suffered a significant decline in their health. But one was persistently joyful, while the other was chronically negative. Both were Christians, but only one was vibrant with life in Christ. The contrast between their perspectives has been so instructive to me that I have earnestly pleaded with God to keep me from stumbling and falling into immature cynicism.
In The Message, Eugene Peterson paraphrases 1 Peter 2:8 this way: “They trip and fall because they refuse to obey, just as predicted.” Later the text says we are chosen to be “God’s instruments to do his work and speak out for him, to tell others of the night-and-day difference he made for you—from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted.”
Sometimes we meet people who worry that they are not chosen to be part of God’s spiritual house. They are afraid that they do not have salvation. This can be heartbreaking. But Peter urges people to grow up in God so that they can flourish and be completely confident of God’s goodness and love. We are all given this wonderful invitation to identify with Christ and his purpose. This invitation is to receive the Word and let Christ be our firm foundation.
Lord, protect us from stumbling and falling; keep us securely on the path to full, vibrant life in you. For Jesus’ sake, Amen.