What if I stumble?

Read John 11:1-16.

The sisters had sent him word; their brother, Lazarus was sick. It was important to let Jesus know. He was, after all, their friend, but he was also the one they knew who had the power to heal.

But he didn’t go right away. He stayed another two whole days, before heading to Bethany. His disciples should have realized what was happening. Hadn’t he told them clearly:

This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.

Yet, even so, when he prepared to travel, his followers cautioned him. Did he not remember that he had almost been stoned in this area before? Did he not remember that the Jews were actively looking for him?

Jesus’ reply must have stumped them, for he said something like, “Don’t worry about it. Don’t we have twelve hours of daylight? If we walk in the light, we won’t stumble. It’s when a person walks in the night that he falls.”

It was then that he told them that Lazarus was no longer just sick, but dead. Thomas, who seemed to have a habit of speaking before thinking, said, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.” Where did that come from? Lazarus died of sickness, not from the Jews. Go figure.

We know the rest of the story about Lazarus, and it’s a beautiful one, but why the words about walking in the light? Jesus didn’t give his usual explanation on that one.

While his disciples probably thought he was talking about getting to Bethany in the daylight hours, Jesus was really referring to himself. He knew his time had not yet come, and thus, if his disciples stayed with him, they wouldn’t stumble. And it happened as he said it would. They made it safely to Bethany, saw Lazarus rise from the dead, and moved on.

If they had hesitated, they would have missed a miracle and another opportunity to put their trust in Jesus.

How many times do I hesitate to do a hard thing, because I’m afraid of failure or persecution? How many times have I done something or gone to a hard place, knowing that Jesus was leading me, and came through the experience safely and more emboldened in my faith?

Walking in the light is always easier than in the darkness. Even when the way is rough or there are rocks to climb, the light enables us to find our way and accomplish the task.

That’s what walking with Jesus is all about. Staying with him is staying in the light. Going my own way or in my own time casts shadows over the path that cause me to stumble or loose my way.

I prefer to walk by the light. What about you?


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