“O Lord God of the armies of heaven, don’t let me be a stumbling block to those who trust in you.” (Psalm 69:6a TLB)
“That you may be untainted and pure and unerring and blameless [so that with hearts sincere and certain and unsullied, you may approach] the day of Christ [not stumbling nor causing others to stumble].” (Philippians 1:10b AMPC)
Even though I regularly ask God not to allow me to be led into temptation, it never occurred to me that I might lead someone else there. In my senior year in Bible school, I was ignoring the 9 p.m. curfew imposed on dorm dwellers.
After a night of study, the sweetshop near my dorm was a big temptation. I would unlatch the window of our ground floor room before I left. There was a dark park between my dorm and the goodies. So, usually along with others, our arms filled with snacks on the return trip, we’d run all the way across at top speed, shrieking. Surely, such behaviour would deter whatever predator might be lurking in the bushes to intercept us. Fooling around like this has probably always gone on with hungry students away from their home refrigerators.
I was alone one night when I did the snack run, over and back to the window, opening it and putting the sweets inside, then climbing in myself. But as I turned to the latch, a large man stood there, knuckles gripping the sill as he began to hoist himself up. He didn’t look like a student.
In a crisis, I freeze like a popsicle. Standing immobile, I could barely pass this information along to my roommate, asleep across the room. “Someone seems to be climbing in the window,” I squeaked, as my vocal cords gave out.
My roommate leaped straight out of bed, pushed me aside and ran to the window, slamming it down on his hands and holding it there while she screamed at the top of her lungs, “HELP! HELP! HELP!” Dorm doors immediately swung open, up and down the hall. Women came running with whatever they thought of as weapons: baseball bats, kettles of boiling water… Someone called security, and they came racing up to capture him.
The next day, my roommate asked to be reassigned.
My lack of regard for the consequences had terrified her, frightened others, and further blighted the already low life of the intruder. I never thought how clearly this good outcome demonstrated God’s loving care, especially given my ignominious part in it. I had a lot to learn, and still do. But someone said, “You know that you’re on the right road when its all uphill.” Thinking about the results of our actions in regard to others is a life’s work, undertaken with daily two-way prayer and meditation.
“So don’t be a stumbling block to anyone.” (1 Corinthians 10:32a TLB)
Prayer: Dear God, we come to You, forsaking our arrogant pride and self will, shameful failure and loss. We throw ourselves at Your feet in dismay, confessing our weakness and relying only on You to bring us into Your joy and light. How thankful we are that You invite us to come, and how happy we are to obey. In Your Son’s name, we pray. Amen.
Kingston, Ontario, Canada
Reprinted from the PresbyCan Daily Devotional with the author’s permission