A few years ago I went for a jog in the dark and nearly broke my ankle. I was coming around the edge of our neighborhood, passing behind the guardhouse. There's a short, very dark stretch there, so I slowed to a walk until I got around the corner and back onto the sidewalk. But the sidewalk runs in front of several townhomes and there's a slope for their driveways, and it was slick. I went down fast and hard and had to hobble back home. It was several days before I could jog again, and like I said, that was the last time I tried to exercise in the dark.
Until this week.
I had to run over to pick something up from a missionary who lives on the other side of our subdivision, and since I missed my exercise that morning, I thought I would multitask. So I pulled on my sneakers. I wasn't going to fall this time, I knew, because being pre-warned is the best prevention.
I made sure I didn't forget, either. The whole way to the dark corner behind the guardhouse, I reminded myself about my previous fall. I walked slowly. And when I came to the sloped driveway, I made sure I wasn't hurrying because I definitely wasn't going to slip again in the exact same place as before. I was sure of that. Because being pre-warned is the best. . .
And down I went. On my knee this time. Smack dab in a bit of filthy sludge. Ouch!
Clearly, not only am I a klutz, I'm also a fool. Foolish enough to fall twice in exactly the same spot.
Turns out, being pre-warned is not the best prevention. Trying to keep yourself from falling, even when you know where the slippery slope lies, is challenging. Turns out, you can walk into a dark place with your eyes wide open and still fall.
I really don't know how that happens. I only know it does. I only know that some days I wake up saying to myself, "You fell into temptation the last time this happened. Don't fall today. Be pre-warned and don't fall this time. Look, here comes that same problem, but you are aware it's there, so don't. . ."
Bam. Down I go on my face.
Even when you know exactly where temptation waits, you can still fall.
How much more when you walk blind into a dark place and have no idea what pits and monsters lurk?
I could have made sure I didn't fall in that same place. I could have taken a different route entirely. Part of my problem was my own hubris. I was just proud enough to think that I could stand.
The Bible has something to say about this, "Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall" ( I Corinthians 10:12). Or you could translate it something like this, "Let her who thinks she can walk around in the dark in the exact same place where she fell before take heed because she's about to bloody up her knee."
There are several spiritual lessons you can learn from my foolishness. (You're welcome.)
1. Walk in the light so you don't stumble.
John 11:9-10 Jesus answered, Are there not twelve hours in the day? If any man walk in the day, he stumbleth not, because he seeth the light of this world. But if a man walk in the night, he stumbleth, because there is no light in him.
2. Don't put your trust in your own knowledge, ability, or steadfastness.
II Peter 3:17 Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.
3. When you do fall down, get back up again.
Proverbs 24:16--For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again.
4. When you are clinging to the Lord and He is upholding you, you can fall without being utterly cast down.
Psalm 37:23-24 The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth him with his hand.
Here is an excellent sermon by Pastor Mark Minnick on the topic of Getting Up Again.