My daughter, Charlotte, is not quite two years old. Recently, she stumbled and struck her head very hard against the door frame in our home. I knew by the loud thud and her screams that she was hurt—I just wasn’t sure how badly.
As she sobbed, I evaluated the immense knot and bruise on her forehead and prayed she didn’t have any significant trauma to the brain. After just a few moments she grew very drowsy and wanted to nap. I panicked. I thought for sure this was indicative of a concussion and that allowing her to sleep would somehow be the end to her very short life.
After a Google search, a prayer, and my husbands’ words of encouragement (not necessarily in that order) I allowed her to rest. After 45 minutes, I gently roused her to see if she would wake. I was comforted by her opened eyes, and I allowed her to drift back to sleep to finish her daily nap. I said another prayer, this time thanking God for his protection and for my daughter whom I love so immensely.
The Bible describes new believers as babies. This metaphor isn’t designed to insult those who are new to the faith, rather to illustrate that our faith journey is a process in which we grow and mature over time. Just as my Charlotte, who is still new to walking, is prone to stumbling, so it is with new believers who are learning what it means to take up their cross and follow after Jesus.
Perhaps you or someone you love is new to faith, and you fear that you might stumble in such a way that you can’t come back from, a way that would end your short new life as a Christ follower. You might be afraid that your mistakes might somehow disqualify you from this beautiful gift God has given you.
I want to assure you that what the Bible says is true, 100%. In the Bible we are promised many things. In Philippians 1:6 we are promised that, “God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished.”
We are told in Romans 8:38 that, “nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.”
I want you to know that even when you stumble, God is still with you. God is perfect love. He is quick to forgive and does not keep a record of our wrongs after we ask for and receive His forgiveness. This gift, made possible by Christ’s sacrifice for us on the cross and resurrection from the dead, has the power to overcome any of our mistakes, stumblings and shortcomings. Do not walk in fear, rather trust in God that He will never leave or forsake you.
When Charlotte fell, there was a bruise to her forehead. When we stumble, there may be consequences we have to navigate. But know that this is not the end. This is part of the process of becoming a mature Christ follower.
Allow God to pick you up, clean you up, to love you, and then keep going. Try again. Keep living the faith. As you grow in faith, you will stumble less often (though know that no one is perfect!). Learn to rely on God’s strength and ask the Holy Spirit to show you the way out, the way of escape when temptation comes knocking. And when you fall, know that God is always there to pick you up.