REFERENCE TEXT: Romans 11:1-2a,11-12, 25-29
Romans 11:11 I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy.
Anytime we hear the word ‘stumble’, our minds are almost immediately cast to ‘a stumbling block’, which is an impediment to progress. So we often hear people say ‘don’t become a stumbling block to me’. However, Saint Paul today appears to have a whole new take on the role of a stumble in our lives.
During a football match, putting one’s foot out to trip an opponent warrants a yellow card as it is seen as intentional.
Likewise, intentionally putting a stone on a popular walkway for others to stumble upon it. Interestingly, a stumble like Paul says must not necessarily lead to a fall- rather, it could be the agent that triggers a change.
When one intends to go in a particular direction at a cross road and inadvertently makes the wrong turn, it takes something to happen enroute for them to realise that they have veered off course. Thus, if the journey was on foot, a stumble will be a likely factor causing them to look up and question where they are, especially if they find themselves in unfamiliar territory.
This does not mean we go about casting stones on the paths of others to cause stumbling- it is rather about realising that some of the bumps we will meet on our journey through life are avenues to cause us to look up and reassess our journey because if the path on which we are treading has numerous stumbling blocks, which to the believer will mean multiple avenues to embrace sin, then we are likely not on the right path.
Remember # stumbles are precursors to falls, so do not ignore the signs and be prepared to change course.